Two-armed surgical robot prototype targets pediatric brain tumors

The endoscopic brain robot’s arms are each 2.8 mm in diameter and 35 mm long when fully extended. Together, they offer a 43 mm diameter workspace. [Image courtesy of Boston Children’s Hospital]

Researchers say they’ve developed a surgical robot for removing brain tumors in children, and that it could also offer a less invasive, safer option for adult neurosurgery and other procedures.

The trick is using hollow, nitinol robot arms to allow neurosurgeons to swap tools during a tumor resection procedure, said Pierre DuPont. He’s the chief of pediatric cardiac bioengineering at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the corresponding author of a new research paper detailing the potential advantages of a two-armed neuroendoscopic robot.

In an interview with Medical Design & Outsourcing, DuPont traced the project back to conversations with Dr. Jim Drake, chief of neurosurgery at Sick…

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Vicarious Surgical announces a new hospital system partnership

[Beta 2 surgical robotics system image courtesy of Vicarious Surgical]Vicarious Surgical (NYSE:RBOT) announced today that it signed a strategic development agreement with Intermountain Health.

Intermountain, a leading nonprofit healthcare system, features 33 hospitals, 385 clinics and 4,300 employed physicians in the U.S. Its more than one million members range across locations in Utah (headquarters), Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana and Nevada.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Vicarious said its agreement offers it access to the Intermountain Health network. It plans to collaborate directly with the system’s team of experienced robotic surgeons and integrated, managed-care business. The partnership leverages Intermountain’s expertise to identify and evaluate drivers of adoption, implementation and utilization of the Vicarious Surgical robotic system. It also aims to assess the potential for clinical outcome improvements and administrative efficiencies in …

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Vicarious Surgical looks to raise $45M from public offering

[Beta 2 surgical robotics system image courtesy of Vicarious Surgical]Vicarious Surgical (NYSE:RBOT) announced that it priced an underwritten public offering worth approximately $45 million in proceeds.

Waltham, Massachusetts–based Vicarious’ offering includes 45 million shares of its Class A common stock priced at $1 per share. Additionally, the company granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 6.75 million shares of common stock.

Before deducting discounts, commissions and expenses, Vicarious expects $45 million in proceeds, assuming no exercise of that option. The company expects the offering to close on or about Aug. 7, 2023, subject to customary closing conditions. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Cowen and Company, LLC serve as joint book-running managers for the offering, according to a news release.

The surgical robot developer did not disclose its intended use of the proceeds. Vicarious Surgical’s approach uses prop…

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Vicarious Surgical plans for in-human surgical robot trials next year, posts Q2 EPS miss

[Beta 2 surgical robotics system image courtesy of Vicarious Surgical]Vicarious Surgical (NYSE:RBOT) shares dipped this morning on second-quarter results despite a positive update on its surgical robot.

Shares of RBOT fell 2.9% to $1.69 apiece in midday trading today. MassDevice’s MedTech 100 Index — which includes stocks of the world’s largest medical device companies — stayed even.

The company failed to beat Wall Street expectations but shared good news on the regulatory process for its surgical robot platform. Vicarious Surgical’s approach uses proprietary human-like surgical robots. It transports surgeons inside the patient to perform minimally invasive surgery.

In April, Vicarious completed a design freeze for its Version 1.0 (V1.0) system. Integration and the build of system units remain on track for fall 2023.

Having received some input from the FDA, Vicarious Surgical expects to begin first-in-human trials in mid-2024. The c…

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Q&A with John Mazzola, Vicarious Surgical’s first chief operations officer

Vicarious Surgical Chief Operating Officer John Mazzola [Photo courtesy of Vicarious Surgical]

Capping off a medtech career spanning more than three decades, John Mazzola had only been retired from Becton Dickinson for about a week when Vicarious Surgical co-founder and CEO Adam Sachs hired him to lead strategic manufacturing planning.

One year later, the surgical robotics developer has promoted Mazzola to the newly created position of chief operating officer, covering product development, manufacturing, supply chain, quality, clinical, regulatory, IT, people and culture.

Related: Surgical robotics trends and how to accelerate adoption

Mazzola spoke with Medical Design & Outsourcing about the latest from Waltham, Massachusetts-based Vicarous Surgical (NYSE: RBOT), its plans for manufacturing and outsourcing, the company’s recent layoffs and lessons learned about developing and launching …

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They said it at DeviceTalks Boston 2023

Medical device industry leaders from Boston Scientific, Abbott, ZimVie, Medtronic, Stryker and more met at DeviceTalks Boston to share lessons learned and their perspectives on industry trends, device design and medtech innovation.

BD Chair, CEO and President Tom Polen (right) at DeviceTalks Boston with DeviceTalks Editorial Director Tom Salemi [Photo by Jeff Pinette for Medical Design & Outsourcing]

Bidding farewell to DeviceTalks Boston 2023, we look back at an exceptional two-day medical device conference teeming with insights from over 100 top industry leaders.

These experts unfolded many complexities of the medtech industry in more than 35 sessions, walking attendees from the medical device product development continuum through the latest medical innovations and strategies to tackle regulatory challenges, prototyping, manufacturing, product launches and more.

Between the high-profile keynote int…

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Vicarious Surgical promotes John Mazzola to COO

[Image from John Mazzola on LinkedIn]Vicarious Surgical (NYSE:RBOT) announced that it promoted John Mazzola to the role of chief operating officer (COO).

Mazzola joined the Waltham, Massachusetts-based surgical robotics company in March 2022 as SVP of operations. He brings with him more than 35 years of experience in the medical device industry. That includes involvement in more than 25 medical device product launches, according to a news release.

Before joining Vicarious, Mazzola spent 13 years in senior executive roles and product development leadership positions at BD. That included serving as VP of operations for BD’s surgery business. There, he oversaw 10 manufacturing sites, a business planning and procurement organization, an advanced manufacturing engineering team and the business’ environmental health and safety responsibilities.

Over the past year, Mazzola led strategic manufacturing plans for the Vicarious Surgical robotic system. In …

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Layoffs in medtech: These companies recently reduced their workforce

[Image courtesy of Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash] The workforce reduction trend has swept the economy recently, and unfortunately, the medtech space is not immune to layoffs.

You’ve probably read about the ongoing layoffs sweeping the tech industry, media and more.

For instance, Yahoo, Disney, Zoom and more all reported workforce reductions as companies across industries grapple with economic pressures. Think inflation, supply chain challenges and more.

Medtech has shown some resilience in the present environment. Some major medical device companies released positive earnings.  However, others announced headcount reductions, citing macroeconomic headwinds. Others felt the weight of regulatory issues and restructuring efforts.

Here are a few companies across medtech that enacted layoffs over the past several months.


In 3M’s fourth-quarter earnings report, the company announced that it plans to reduce its global manufacturing workforc…

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Vicarious Surgical cuts 14% of its workforce

Vicarious Surgical (NYSE:RBOT) announced a layoff in order in order to reduce cash burn and boost R&D spending at the surgical robotics company.

CFO William Kelly told analysts yesterday evening that the present economic environment has Vicarious Surgical focusing on getting a quality robotic surgery system “out the door fast.” He said the company has reduced its workforce by 14%. The company’s most recent annual report listed 165 employees. That means the layoff could have involved roughly two dozen employees.

Those who were let go were mostly engaged in selling, general, and administrative expenses, according to CEO Adam Sachs.

“While previously, it made sense for the company to deploy greater resources and parallel path multiple contingencies in order to absolutely minimize timeline risk wherever possible. In the current market environment, fiscal discipline requires a much more lean approach, focused on growing equity valu…

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DeviceTalkers assemble for the final Newsmakers of 2022

In this episode, your diligent team of DeviceTalkers assembled to review our Top 10 events, trends and newsmakers of 2022.

Executive Editor Chris Newmarker, Pharma Editor Brian Buntz, Managing Editor Jim Hammerand, Senior Editor Danielle Kirsh and Associate Editor Sean Whooley joined me, DeviceTalks Editorial Director Tom Salemi, for the latest DeviceTalks podcast.

We’ve got some highs — robots, diabetes — and some lows — supply chain, recalls — and a whole lot of interesting things in between. All-in-all, we’re bullish on what’s to come in 2023! And we only mentioned COVID-19 once.

Companies mentioned in our wide-ranging discussion include Abbott, Abiomed, Ambu, Becton Dickinson, Boston Scientific, CMR Surgical, Dexcom, embecta, Intuitive, Johnson & Johnson Medtech, Medtronic, Neuralink, Philips, Senseonics, Stryker, Synchron, Vicarious Surgical, Zimmer Biomet, ZimVie and many more.

You can listen to other DeviceTalks Podcast Network shows at…

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These 14 medical device inventions are the best, Time magazine says

Clockwise from top left, Osso VR, Phonak’s Audéo Fit, Molli Surgical’s breast cancer localization system, and Esper Bionics’ Esper Hand were among 14 medical device innovations to make it into Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2022. [Images courtesy of the companies]

Fourteen medical devices ranging from patient monitoring to surgical robotics recently made it into Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2022.

For over 20 years, Time magazine has highlighted the 100 most impactful devices and ideas around the world. The list is compiled through nominations from the publication’s editors and global correspondents, with special attention to categories such as medical innovations, green energy and electric vehicles.

Time graded each nominee on a number of key factors that include originality, efficacy, ambition and impact.

There were 14 medical devices honored in this year’s list,…

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Vicarious Surgical posts larger-than-expected losses in Q3

Vicarious Surgical (NYSE:RBOT) posted third-quarter results today that fell short of the consensus forecast on Wall Street.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based robotics technology developer reported a net loss of $24.7 million, or -$0.20 per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2022.

That’s a narrower loss for the pre-revenue company than the company’s $45.1 million loss in Q3 2021, or-$0.49 per share.

The company said its cash burn rate for its latest quarter was $14.5 million, and that it had $126.8 million in cash and equivalents on hand at the end of September.

Operating expenses increased to $22.2 million from $5.2 million in Q3 2021, while R&D spending increased to $12.1 million for the quarter compared to $5.2 million in the prior-year period.

“During the third quarter, our team completed the integration phase of the Beta 2 system build, and I’m incredibly encouraged by the results of our cadaveric testing. We loo…

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