Noah Medical inundated with $150M in VC cash for its lung biopsy robot

Just weeks after securing an FDA clearance for its robotic lung surgery system, Noah Medical has been flooded with venture capital dollars.

The Silicon Valley-based company raised $150 million to help build a commercial engine behind its Galaxy system, designed to perform navigated lung bronchoscopies using disposable probes.

Noah’s series B round was led by the Softbank Vision Fund and co-led by Prosperity7 Ventures. Additional backers included Tiger Global, Hillhouse, Sequoia China, Shangbay Capital, Uphonest Capital, Sunmed Capital, Lyfe Capital, 1955 Capital and AME Cloud Ventures plus other undisclosed investors.

The FDA’s clearance of the Galaxy system was announced in early March. With a small, cart-based robotic arm, the platform snakes a bronchoscope through the airways of the lung to get a closer look at suspicious tissue nodules that may harbor any developing cancer cells.

With single-use, replaceable hardware, the company says its approach allows for faster turnaround times between patients—by doing away with cleaning and reprocessing steps—and reduces the risks of cross-contamination.

The system is also equipped with what Noah has dubbed Tool-in-Lesion Tomo+ technology, or TiLT+, which provides surgeons with real-time, image-guided updates to help confirm when the biopsy tool is fully within its target tissue.

“Next generation robotics platforms like the Galaxy System are filling procedural gaps to provide superior clinical values to better serve customers’ needs,” Noah founder and CEO Jian Zhang said in a release. The company has also launched first-in-human clinical trials at Macquarie University Hospital in Sydney.

But the deluge of cash may cause some consternation among Noah’s competitors. The company is currently the defendant in a lawsuit lodged by Johnson & Johnson’s robotic surgery subsidiaries—Auris Health and Verb Surgical, plus its Cilag pharmaceutical unit—that accuses three former Auris employees of transferring trade secrets to Noah.

J&J’s complaint claims one of Noah’s patent applications includes Auris tech and was filed within weeks of a former employee joining the company; another application depicts a Noah catheter that J&J said is “indistinguishable from a figure in a confidential Auris presentation from February 2015.”

Earlier this month, the judge overseeing the case in Northern California’s federal court denied a move from Noah to have the dispute resolved through arbitration. The court has scheduled a hearing on Noah’s motion to dismiss Auris’ complaints for May 10.