Virtual Incision lets in another $30M for its surgical mini-robot

A little robot is leading to some big bucks. Assisted surgery developer Virtual Incision announced it has raised $30 million to help carry its operations through the next two years as it sets its sights on an FDA green light.

The Nebraska-based company’s MIRA system is designed to be small enough to fit within a surgical tray while weighing only two pounds. It aims to offer a surgeon a miniaturized camera and two robotic arms that can be placed entirely within the abdomen, delivered through a single incision in the navel.

Virtual Incision described the latest proceeds as an extension to its previous $46 million series C round, which it first made public in late December 2021.

This leave-the-door-open approach to venture capital financing is one it’s employed before, and on a similar multiyear time frame: Virtual Incision initially collected $18 million in 2017 for its series B fundraising, then added another $20 million to its coffers in January 2020 through what it called “a series B+.”

“This financing, particularly in the current fundraising environment, is a significant affirmation of the promise Virtual Incision offers to both patients and shareholders,” President and CEO John Murphy said in the company’s latest fundraising announcement this week. 

Including the 2021 tranche, the company said its series C has now been joined by Bluestem Capital, Endeavour Vision, Baird Capital, cultivate(MD) Capital Funds and PrairieGold Venture Partners, with its newest backers including Arboretum Ventures and InVivium Capital.

Concurrently, Virtual Incision appointed Arboretum Managing Partner Tom Shehab, M.D., to a seat on its board of directors, with InVivium General Partner Amy Kobe joining as a board observer.

Earlier this year, the company said it had completed a clinical study of MIRA’s use in bowel resection, and it announced in May that the miniaturized robotic surgery system had been submitted to the FDA for a de novo review in the procedure. The company has estimated that more than 60% of bowel resections are performed through open surgery, totaling nearly 300,000 U.S. patients.

If it receives the agency’s blessing, Virtual Incision said it plans to begin with a limited launch of MIRA in select U.S. surgical centers. The $30 million fundraising is slated to support the company’s work through 2025, including a gynecologic clinical study for MIRA planned for next year. It also said it is developing an even smaller version of its device aimed at broader general surgery indications, with a first-in-human clinical study planned for 2024 as well.