Mazor founder's Microbot Medical to merge with StemCells

Self-Cleaning Shunt--Courtesy of Microbot Medical

Israel’s Microbot Medical and U.S. biotech StemCells announced Tuesday that they are pursuing a merger to develop robotics-based medical devices for the treatment of cerebrospinal fluid accumulation, gastrointestinal disorders and other conditions. Financial details were not disclosed.

Microbot’s tech is derived from the work of co-founder Moshe Shoham of The Israel Institute of Technology. Shoham also founded Mazor Robotics ($MZOR), on which device giant Medtronic ($MDT) is partnering with and investing in surgical robotics.

"We are pleased that this transaction will give us a presence in the US capital markets, and we are very excited to continue advancing the development of our proprietary technologies that we believe have the potential to improve the lives of many patients globally,” said Microbot CEO Harel Gadot in a statement.

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Newark, CA-based StemCells is looking for "strategic alternatives" since failing to report strong results from its Phase II study of human neural stem cells in chronic spinal cord injury, StemCells CEO Ian Massey said at the time.

Microbot’s offerings include the ViRob, an autonomous crawling micro-robot that is remotely controlled via applied electromagnetic fields. It is 1mm in diameter and 4mm in length, allowing it to navigate different parts of the body, including blood vessels and the digestive tract, according to the company. Microbot markets the ViRob-based Self-Cleaning Shunt, which treats hydrocephalus,where there is an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

The Israeli company also touts a flexible, self-propelled endoscope for use in areas such as the colon, blood vessels and urinary tract. The TipCAT propels itself using a series of balloons that sequentially inflate and deflate. It markets the TipCAT-based Self-Propelled Semi-Disposable Colonoscope, which combines the balloon-propelled tech with a high-performance camera and disposable components.

- here's the statement

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