XACT Robotics raised $5 million in venture capital investments alongside a new CE mark for its integrated robotic surgery navigation and steering system for image-guided, needle-puncture procedures, such as ablations and biopsies.
The series C proceeds will help set up and fund seven programs by the end of this year at medical centers in the U.S., Europe and Israel, where the devices will be used. The first launched earlier this year at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, which participated in a clinical trial evaluating the system’s ability to target lesions.
“The goal of these centers is to gain additional clinical experience and to serve as the primary training centers towards the full product launch of the XACT system planned for 2019,” said XACT CEO Chen Levin in a release.
The robotics system was approved for CT-guided percutaneous procedures in the abdomen. The Caesarea, Israel-based company hopes to expand its use to additional centers and imaging technology, including cone-beam CT and fluoroscopy, as well as indications in spine and lung procedures.
Currently, manually steering needles for biopsies, abscess drainage and tumor ablation can be a challenging task; physicians have to avoid causing undue damage to tissues while adjusting for patient movement and breathing, said study investigator Nahum Goldberg, M.D., Hadassah’s head of interventional oncology and director of the applied radiology research lab.
“XACT's solution has thus far demonstrated the potential to successfully [address] these challenges, by integrating robotic needle navigation and steering capabilities to achieve accurate access to a target within the body,” Goldberg said in a company statement. “We are very pleased with the results from the initial clinical procedures we performed as part of the trial, which further confirm the <1.5mm accuracy findings of the preclinical studies.”
After physicians select a target and an entry point, the system recommends a trajectory and a series of verification checkpoints for the procedure. The robot then performs the needle insertion and steering according to the approved trajectory, while progress is monitored by the physician, actively compensating for breathing and patient movement. Any deviation from the planned pathway can be detected and corrected without reinserting the needle or repositioning the patient, the company said.