VytronUS has been developing a system, dubbed LICU for low-intensity collimated ultrasound, which could dramatically change the treatment of atrial fibrillation.
John Pavlidis

CEO: John Pavlidis
Based: Sunnyvale, California
Founded: 2006
Company website

The scoop 

In the field of medical robotics, VytronUS has been developing an integrated imaging and ablation platform to treat cardiac arrhythmias that uses ultrasound energy to create high-resolution images of the interior of the heart. Intended for procedure planning, it would let physicians draw a desired treatment pattern on the image they see at a workstation. The system, dubbed LICU for low-intensity collimated ultrasound, can provide surgeons with anatomical maps that help guide them in planning and placing lesions, which could dramatically change the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

The system uses a narrow beam of energy that is delivered from the tip of a catheter, which does not come in contact with tissue and eliminates problems that can occur with contact-based platforms. Ablation is a nonsurgical technique that uses several imaging and monitoring systems to deploy catheters in the heart via an artery or vein.

“We see our technology as an opportunity to really democratize electrical ablations and make it accessible to more and more physicians who are either not doing it today—and about one-third of electrophysiologists don’t do any ablations—or make their life easier by reducing the stress factor during the procedure,” said John Pavlidis, VytronUS CEO, in an interview with Healthegy TV.

In July, VytronUS, a New Enterprise Associates startup company, raked in a hefty $49 million in Series C financing it said it would use to continue studies and seek regulatory approval of the system in Europe and in the U.S.

What makes VytronUS fierce 

If approved and deployed, LICU could not only open up the procedure to more surgeons who typically don’t do ablations, or do few of them in a year, but because they are at work stations their exposure time to X-rays is reduced.

What to look for

Although a timeline for regulatory approval remains fluid, Pavlidis has said they’ve had good, early interaction with the agency, which sets a higher bar when it comes to approving surgical robotics systems. — Joseph Keenan, @FierceBiotech


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