OTC-traded Bionik raises $13.1M to back development of lower-body robotic exoskeleton

Bionik's Arke exoskeleton--Courtesy of Bionik

The FDA cleared the first robotic exoskeleton as an everyday mobility aid a little over a year ago for ReWalk Robotics ($RWLK)--which subsequently and spectacularly went public last November in an IPO. But ReWalk is scarcely alone, even on the public markets.

Now, another public mobility exoskeleton player, Bionik Laboratories ($BNKL), has raised $13.1 million in a private placement incrementally over the last 6 months to back the development of its product. The tiny Toronto-based company has a market cap of only $125 million and trades over-the-counter.

Bionik will use the financing to continue to develop its main product, the Arke, a robotic lower body exoskeleton designed to appeal to paraplegics and even other wheelchair users. It's intended to offer patients rehabilitation through walking and other motion.

"This successful financing along with our achievement earlier this year of becoming a publicly-traded company, enables us to access the capital markets, and importantly, makes it possible to rapidly advance our product development and growth strategy," said Bionik CEO Peter Bloch in a statement.

The Arke's tablet--Courtesy of Bionik

Earlier this year, Bionik completed a transaction to go public that raised about $6.2 million. Bionik was founded in 2010 and came out of research at the Biomedical Engineering Department of Ryerson University.

The Arke is a programmable device--so physiotherapists can use a tablet to program it while it is in use. The tablet connects to the company's cloud software to enable data analysis that is relayed back to the physiotherapist in real-time. The exoskeleton incorporates a series of sensors and algorithms based upon that data to measure, learn and anticipate a patient's gait.

In February, FDA said that it would regulate powered exoskeletons as Class II medical devices in order to evaluate their safety efficacy. The order went into effect at the end of March.

- here is the release