Surgical robot maven Memic takes SPAC track to boost Hominis system launch

In a matter of months, the specialty surgical robotics producer Memic leapt from an FDA green light to a $96 million funding round, and now to an acquisition agreement that promises to take the company public with a billion-dollar valuation.

Memic plans to emerge on the Nasdaq through a deal with the aptly named special purpose acquisition company MedTech Acquisition Corporation. As a result, Memic will add about $360 million to its balance sheet to help boost the launch of its Hominis system, a compact, portable surgical robot built for transvaginal hysterectomies.

The device includes a pair of articulated, laparoscopic instruments that aim to replicate human arms, with shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. A third arm guides a video camera through a small, separate incision in the abdomen to help the surgeon view the internal procedure.

Hominis received a de novo clearance from the FDA in February for assisting with the removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries in cases where there is no cancer present, as well as with the removal of ovarian cysts. Memic estimates about 600,000 hysterectomies are performed each year in the U.S.—though the minimally invasive transvaginal approach, which typically offers a faster recovery, is only used about 16% of the time.

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Now, through the SPAC deal with MedTech Acquisition—which raised $250 million through its own Nasdaq IPO last December—Memic hopes to be able to raise that percentage, while also chasing additional applications in colorectal, thoracic and other surgeries.

"We believe that the Hominis platform represents the most significant advancement in soft-tissue surgical robotics in recent decades, and this agreement further validates how our technology is positioned to transform the surgical robotics sector," said Memic Chairman Maurice Ferré, who will serve as executive chairman following the closure of the SPAC deal, set for before the end of this year.

"Hominis is able to perform robotic transvaginal techniques that were previously unfeasible, fulfilling a significant unmet need in women's health, and we believe it has the potential to be applied to a broad range of indications in the future including general surgery," added Ferré, who previously co-founded Mako Surgical.

RELATED: FDA clears first surgical robot for transvaginal hysterectomies

The SPAC deal carries a pro forma equity value of more than $1 billion, according to the companies, including a private investment round of $76 million raised from Bridger Healthcare, The Kraft Group, Monashee Investment Management, Pura Vida Investments, Wellington Management, Ken Langone, Peregrine Ventures and HighSage Ventures.

MedTech Acquisition, meanwhile, is led by Chairman Karim Karti, who served as chief operating officer of iRhythm Technologies as well as president and CEO of GE Healthcare’s imaging division, and CEO Christopher Dewey, who held seats on the boards of Memic, Mako Surgical, Auris Surgical Robotics, Procept BioRobotics, ShockWave Medical, Magic Leap and more.