Auris Health (born Auris Surgical Robots) did a very good job under the radar, despite raising a massive amount of capital and enrolling one of the key people behind the robot surgical da Vinci among its founders. With the FDA’s approval finally, however, the start-up medical startup based in Redwood City is ready to start talking.
This week, Auris revealed the monarchical platform, which replaces da Vinci’s surgical approach for something much less invasive. The system uses the common endoscopy procedure to insert a flexible robot into difficult places of access to the interior of the human body. A trained physician on the system uses a video game controller to navigate inside, with the help of 3D models.
Monarch’s first target is lung cancer, which is at the top of the list of the deadliest cancers. More deaths could be stopped if doctors were able to catch the disease in its early stages, but the complex structures of the lung, combined with current techniques, make the process difficult. According to the company, “more than 90% of people diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive, in part because they are often at an advanced stage.”
“CT scan shows mass or injury,” says CEO Frederic Moll at TechCrunch. “It does not tell you what it is.Then you have to take a piece of lung, and if it is a small lesion.This is not so easy – it can be a procedure So you would like to do it in a very systematic and minimally invasive way.This is difficult with manual techniques and 40% of the time there is no diagnosis. problem for many years and [inhibits] the ability of a clinician to diagnose and treat cancer at an early stage.
Auris was founded half a dozen years ago, during which the company was able to raise $ 500 million, courtesy of Mithril Capital Management, Lux Capital, Coatue Management and Highland Capital. The company says that VC’s big lift and long track have been necessary factors in building its rugged platform.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have an investor base that supports our vision and commits to us for the long term,” Josh DeFonzo told TechCrunch. “The investments that have been made in Auris are to support both the development of a very robust product pipeline, as well as the successful clinical adoption of our technology to improve patient outcomes.”
With this funding and the FDA approval for Monarch apart, the company has an aggressive schedule. Moll says Auris hopes to bring the system to hospitals and outpatient clinics by the end of the year. And once it’s in the wild, Monarch’s disease detection capabilities will extend beyond lung cancer.
“We developed what we call platform technology,” says Moll. “Bronchoscopy is the first application, but this platform will do other robotic endoscopies.”