The new capital is intended to finance testing and patient research with the Musa-3, the third version of the robot. If these are successful, the device could enter the market in just over two years, according to Deckers. The Musa-3 is designed to enable surgeons to perform operations on vessels with a diameter of 100 microns. For comparison: a human hair is 60 microns thick.
“Operating with such precision is incredibly difficult,” says Deckers. “Especially with lymphatic vessels, because they are also very soft.” Is Microsure then comparable to ASML, the producer of devices for manufacturing chips, which has grown large with precision technology? Deckers: “You could see it that way.”
For the time being, Microsure is still a lot smaller than ASML. The company, which emerged from research at Maastricht University Medical Center and the Eindhoven University of Technology, currently has about 35 employees. In previous investment rounds, Microsure already raised €7 million, including from the Brabant Development Agency (BOM). Deckers joined as CEO three years ago, shortly after he left Onward Medical, another medical technology company that now has a stock market listing.
The development of Musa-3 proved necessary, Deckers says, because a previous version of the device did not meet expectations. Fifty operations have been carried out with Musa-2, but the robot was not sufficiently user-friendly in practice, partly because it was attached to the operating table. The Musa-3 is easily movable.
A second advantage of the new robot is that surgeons can use their own forceps and other instruments and reuse them after sterilization. According to Deckers, this should contribute to a cost advantage of thousands of euros per operation compared to the robot of his only competitor, the Italian MMI. Reuse of instruments is not possible with MMI’s robot.
With MMI’s robots, about five hundred operations have now been carried out in Europe. The Italian device has not yet been approved for use in the United States, the most important market for medical technology.
With robots for microsurgery, doctors are expected to be able to perform operations that are currently largely impossible. This includes reconstructive operations after the removal of lymph nodes or after an accident, where a surgeon has to reconnect tiny vessels. Deckers: “A reconstructive operation with, for example, a thumb often succeeds, but with a normal finger it is much more difficult and time-consuming. With the current state of technology, doctors often opt for amputation.”
Part of the new capital comes from existing shareholders, including the BOM and the TCIM investment fund of the Ten Cate family. One of the new financiers is Kineo, a financing company that hopes to place the Musa-3 in hospitals via a leasing construction.
Whitepaper Medical Robotics in Brabant