VAS Medical (万思医疗科技), a Beijing-based surgical robot startup, recently announced the completion of an angel round worth more than 100 million yuan (US$14.52 million), led jointly by Cas Investment and Noah Capital.
Proceeds raised from this round will be used on technological R&D, product iteration, team building and market expansion.
Since its inception in 2021, VAS Medical has been committed to developing surgical robots for minimally invasive blood vessel treatment.
The company’s product is the first among homegrown peers to reach clinical stage, currently being applied at scores of clinical centers of domestic hospitals.
In March this year, it obtained China’s first certificate for its cerebral vessel invasive surgical assistive system from the National Medical Product Admininstration.
Observers pointed out that VAS Medical will continue to set its sights on blood vessel surgical solutions, which are a subcategory of neural invasive therapies.
Neural invasive surgeries are sometimes labeled the “crown jewel” of invasive surgeries, for they are difficult, risky and time-consuming.
According to China Insights Consultancy (CIC), a market information provider, China’s neural invasive surgeries grew from 43,000 in 2015 to 124,000 in 2019, at a CAGR of 30.4%.
As the nation’s populations rapidly ages, the number of neural invasive surgeries will likely balloon to 2.1 million in 2030, said CIC.
Compared to performing procedures on coronary arteries, neural vessels are thinner, more circuitous and delicate, requiring higher surgical accuracy and better medical equipment.
Besides, neural vessel operations are reliant on doctors’ experience, which can only be gained over the course of lengthy training.
In the face of uneven medical resource distribution, a shortage of qualified surgeons, the difficulty of blood vessel surgeries and exposure to radiation, VAS Medical has tried to meet the demands of clinicians and patients for better surgical solutions.
Its assistive system that was licensed for sale utilizes a master-slave collaborative mechanism, allowing the surgeon to operate on the patient from a separate theater. This effectively reduces the harm caused by radiation and the burden of wearing a lead protective coat.
Meanwhile, VAS Medical also minimizes the range of motion of the doctor’s hand, down to millimeter, increasing the safety, stability and accuracy of surgeries.
VAS Medical completed 260 clinical trials nationwide in 2021. In the following year, it passed the review and assessment by China’s Ministry of Technology, meaning its minimally invasive blood vessel surgical robot is eligible for commercialization after demonstrational studies were carried out.