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Surgical Robotics Company Raises $55M in Early Funds

Eyes looking at laptop

(Tookapic, Pexels)

18 July 2022. A developer of robotic systems for cataract and other eye surgeries is raising $55 million in its first venture financing round. Forsight Robotics Ltd., a two year-old company in Yokeneam, Israel, is a spin-off enterprise from engineering research at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

Forsight Robotics seeks to make ophthalmic surgery more accessible and routine, particularly for the rapidly growing number of people worldwide in need of cataract removal. World Health Organization estimates 1 billion people in the world suffer from moderate or severe distance vision impairment or blindness, of which 94 million are due to cataracts. According to American Academy of Ophthalmology, some 24.4 million people in the U.S. have cataracts, a condition affecting about half of Americans reaching the age of 75.

Cataracts are a common symptom of aging, resulting from a breakdown of proteins and fibers in the lens, in the front of the eye. The condition develops slowly, becoming noticeable after the age of 40 as vision becomes blurry, distorted, dull, or cloudy in one or both eyes. In most people, cataracts can be removed in routine outpatient surgery. As noted by Forsight Robotics, however, cataract and other ophthalmic surgery requires many years of training, with experienced eye surgeons in short supply in many parts of the world. The company cites data from the British Journal of Ophthalmology showing 72 eye surgeons per 1 million people in affluent countries, but only 3.7 surgeons per 1 million residents in lower-resource regions.

Multiple eye surgeries with animals

The Forsight Robotics platform, called Oryam — Hebrew for daylight — combines computer visualization, machine learning algorithms, and advances in microsurgical robotics. The company’s scientific founder is Moshe Shoham, Forsight’s chief scientist. Shoham is professor emeritus in mechanical engineering at Technion, who earlier founded the company Mazor Robotics, acquired by Medtronic in late 2018.

The Oryam system, says the company, provides advanced imaging of the eye for surgical planning and real-time guidance, as well as robotics for microsurgery with 14 degrees of freedom for executing delicate tasks. In addition, says Forsight, machine learning algorithms continuously update and refine its surgical techniques. The company says its technology performs consistent microsurgery at sub-millimeter accuracy, 10 times more precise than human hands. Forsight says physicians using the Oryam system have so far performed multiple eye surgeries with animals.

Forsight Robotics is raising $55 million in its first venture round, led by Adani Group, a diversified business conglomerate in Ahmedabad, India. Joining Adani Group are current investors Eclipse Ventures and Mithril Capital, and new investors Provenio Capital, Precision Capital, Reiya Ventures, and other family offices and private funders. The company raised $10 million in seed funds in Mar. 2021. Forsight plans to apply the new funds for advancing the Oryam system into clinical trials and expanding its use to other eye surgeries, such as glaucoma and diseases of the retina.

“We are pleased to be able to advance our technology with this investment,” says Forsight Robotics co-founder and CEO Daniel Glozman, in a company statement emailed to Science & Enterprise, “to bring robotics into the world of ophthalmic surgery to help millions of patients who have to wait unnecessarily for procedures while their eyesight deteriorates.”  Glozman adds, “Our goal is to democratize this highly sophisticated procedure, enabling patients around the world to easily access the treatment that can restore their vision.”

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