Minimal access surgery, or keyhole surgery, delivers acknowledged clinical benefits compared to more common open procedures. Trauma and scarring is reduced due to smaller incisions and recovery times are shorter, ultimately providing lower costs for healthcare providers. However, the procedure is physically demanding to perform and the technique is hard to master, requiring long training time and making the procedure less accessible.
The UK-based startup Cambridge Medical Robotics aims to make minimal access surgery universally accessible and affordable, and is developing the next-generation robotic system. Their technology uses multiple collaborative robotic arms, which mimic the movements of a surgeon and can be repositioned around the operating theater. It also offers state-of-the-art 3D high-definition imagery, and provide surgeons with force feedback for life-like sensitivity. The compact and light-weight system is easy to set up and maneuver, adaptable to all operating environments, and is specifically designed for ease of use by all surgical team members, requiring minimal additional training.
Global annual revenues for robot-assisted minimal access surgery are approximately $4 billion and are anticipated to reach $20 billion by 2025. Cambridge Medical Technology seeks to transform the existing market by developing a system that overcome current obstacles to widespread adoption of robotic minimal access surgery, including robot and instrument size, cost and ease of use. They are working to significantly expand the range of procedures that can be performed robotically, offering all the benefits of manual minimal access surgery while making life easier for surgeons and reducing the capital and operational cost for each procedure. The reduced costs and ease-of-use help make minimal access surgery universal, reducing trauma and improving recovery times for new patient groups around the world.
The startup has over 80 patent applications filed to protect the fundamental disruptive technologies behind the system, and earlier in 2016 announced the successful completion of their first round of clinical cadaveric trials conducted at The Evelyn Cambridge Surgical Training Centre. The trials demonstrated surgical activities in the pelvic, upper gastrointestinal and colorectal surgical areas, and data was collected to inform further cadaveric, animal and first-in-human trials.
Cambridge Medical Robotics has previously completed seed funding from Escala Capital, and earlier in 2016 secured over $20 million in a Series A funding round with investors including ABB Technology Ventures, LGT Global Invest and Cambridge Innovation Capital. The proceeds will be used to progress development and commercialization of their medical robotic technology and prepare for regulatory approval.