Los Angeles–based startup Bionaut Labs emerged from stealth mode earlier this year to announce its intent to use drug-filled microrobots to treat certain cancers.
The company has now secured a humanitarian use device designation from FDA to use a microrobot known as BNL-201 to treat Dandy-Walker syndrome, a rare brain malformation.
In 1914, neurosurgeon Walter Dandy observed a toddler with a brain cyst that led to swelling in the back of the brain. In the 1940s, another neurosurgeon, Arthur Earl Walker, identified the same type of malformation, later dubbed Dandy-Walker syndrome. While the syndrome varies in severity, children with the condition may have developmental and movement disorders, vomiting or seizures.
Treatment options for the syndrome have been limited to shunt surgery, which has a significant rate of complications. A 2015 study found more than one-quarter of Dandy-Walker syndrome patients experienced complications, including infection, shun…