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Surgical Robot Maker TransEnterix to Raise $50M in Stock Offering

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

Wasting no time in preparing for commercialization of its surgical robot system, TransEnterix is pulling out plans to raise $50 million through a stock sale intended to finance sales and marketing of the technology.

The plans come a week after Research Triangle Park, NC-based TransEnterix (NYSE: TRXC) applied to the FDA for regulatory clearance for its SurgiBot System. TransEnterix did not say in its prospectus how many shares it intends to offer, or at what price. A date for the offering has not yet been set.

SurgiBot is a robotic system developed to enable surgeons to perform minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical procedures in the abdomen. The system builds on the company’s first product, the SPIDER Surgical System, which allows doctors to introduce a number of flexible instruments into the abdomen through a small incision in the belly button.

SurgiBot expands on the SPIDER with motorized controls that TransEnterix says offer strength and precision while retaining the tactile feel and freedom of movement of manually controlled instruments. In securities filings, TransEnterix says that traditional laparoscopy still requires multiple incisions for the surgeon to get the proper view and instrument positioning. The company also says that the rigid tools typically used force the surgeon’s arms and hands into awkward positions, making such procedures physically challenging. The surgeon operates Surgibot from a station at the patient’s side, a setup that contrasts with the larger da Vinci Surgical System currently sold by Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG). Surgeons control that robotic system from a different part of the operating room, or from a different room altogether.

Todd Pope, TransEnterix’s CEO, has said that the SurgiBot was not developed to compete directly with the Intuitive Surgical device. Rather, TransEnterix is trying to expand the market for robotic surgery, in part by offering a less expensive option. The da Vinci system sells for between $1 million and $2.3 million, depending on the configuration of the robot. Intuitive also receives recurring revenue from contracts to service the robots. Those contracts cost between $100,00 and $170,000 a year. TransEnterix has not yet disclosed pricing for SurgiBot but Pope has said it will be less expensive than the da Vinci system. TransEnterix says in its filings that most hospitals and surgery centers have yet to adopt robotic surgical systems “due to cost and complexity.”

“We believe a smaller, more affordable surgical robot would provide the right solution for potential customers, particularly in hospital and surgery center settings,” the company says.

TransEnterix was founded in 2006. The company launched its SPIDER Surgical System in 2010 and now says that system has been used in more than 3,500 procedures. In 2013, TransEnterix became a public company through a reverse merger with Miami, FL, company SafeStitch Medical.