Chinese media broke the story today that Shurui（术锐）, a producer of surgical robot and medical equipment, had signed a pre-IPO tutoring agreement with CITIC Securities, a leading brokerage firm, on March 8 in a bid to list on China’s A-share market.
Details of the agreement have yet to be disclosed.
Shurui, founded in 2014 by US-educated Professor Xu Kai, specializes in developing minimally invasive, single-incision surgical robot system with independent intellectual property rights.
Leveraging an invention called “dual continuum mechanism,” the robot, which comes with high-performance, adjustable Endowrists, can be deployed inside a patient’s cavity through a tiny keyhole incision and perform procedures for the treatment of urological, gynecological and general surgical diseases.
It is said that the performance of Shurui’s laparoscopic surgical robot is on par with world-leading peers.
“Shurui’s system leaves fewer incisions on the patient’s abdominal wall, compared to the prevalent da Vinci Xi multi-port system from Intuitive Surgical, effectively relieving the pain of patients and enhancing the efficiency of surgeons,” said Xu, also the startup’s CEO, at a high-profile industry summit today in Shanghai.
In 2020, Shurui obtained a license from China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), becoming the first manufacturer of homegrown minimally invasive surgical robot to be certified as an innovative medical equipment supplier.
Shurui said its robot has higher agility and greater visual scope than competitors in the market. With four flexible Endowrists, it operates on the patient’s thoracic or abdominal wall through a single cut only 2.5 cm across.
The Endowrists attached to the robotic arms can move in all directions, prying human organ tissues apart where needed and navigating narrow spaces within safety perimeters.
The built-in 3D endoscopy provides a stereoscopic view on body parts under the scalpel. Meanwhile, the robotic arms, incorporating the remote center of motion mechanism, minimize risks of collision during an operation.
Xu, a Columbia alumnus who is now teaching at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, has dedicated himself to the research and development of surgical robot for over 20 years. He studied under Russell Taylor, who is christened father of surgical robot. To date, Shurui has filed and obtained 564 patents worldwide.
The startup, based in Beijing, has raised funds from Tianfeng Capital, Shunwei Capital, Hyfinity Fund, SDIC, CD Capital, Medtronic, Shanghai Healthcare Capital and V Star Capital. Among them, Astrend III, a venture fund managed by Shunwei, is Shurui’s largest institutional investor, with a 12.11% stake.
Shurui is among a handful of Chinese medtech firms that have been lured by the market prospects of surgical robots in China.
According to Frost & Sullivan, laparoscopic surgical robots represented 75% of the Chinese surgical robot market in 2020. However, installations totaled a mere 189 units, with a market penetration rate of 0.5%. By contrast, the US saw 3,727 such devices being installed during the same period, roughly 20 times as many, contributing to a penetration rate of 13%.
With Shurui now looking to finance its development via funds channeled from the stock market, it joined the likes of MicroPort (微创机器人, HK: 0853), Tinavi (天智航, 688277.SH) and Edge Medical (精锋医疗).