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Levita Magnetics said it has raised $26 million to fund regulatory and commercial progress on its Magnetic-Assisted Robotic Surgery (MARS) platform.
The Menlo Park, California-based robotic surgery system developer also appointed Maria Sainz as chair of its board of directors.
The MARS platform is designed to help surgeons perform more high-volume abdominal procedures using fewer incisions and less personnel.
Levita won FDA de novo classification for its Levita Magnetic Surgical System in 2015. That handheld device uses a magnet placed outside of a patient’s abdomen to control a magnetic grasper inside the body during surgery, requiring only one incision instead of two.
The device requires someone to hold the external magnet while the surgeon is operating, but the new MARS platform assists with the external magnet and gives the surgeon more control and visibility. The system has a compact footprint meant for outpatient or same-day discharge procedures.
Levita announced the first procedures with its MARS system in July 2021. The company now says more than 30 procedures have been performed with the investigational system in a clinical trial in Chile, including sleeve gastrectomy and same-day discharge cholecystectomy procedures.
“The disruptive approach leveraging Levita’s core proprietary magnetic technology within a robotic platform has enormous potential in changing the way surgery is performed at a global scale,” Sainz said in a news release. “I’m excited about Levita’s compelling vision and look forward to supporting the company as it begins its next chapter.”
Sainz replaces Glen French as Levita’s board chair, a role he held for nearly a decade. The company said French moved to an advisory role for the board.
Levita said its Series C funding round was led by a “healthtech investment group managed” by Evan Norton but did not name the group. Norton identifies himself on LinkedIn as a managing partner of healthcare growth equity and venture capital investment firm Ballast Capital, and public records show an entity called Ballast Capital Levita LLC was incorporated earlier this year.
MedTex Ventures, Invermaster and Carao Ventures also participated in the funding round.
“We are thrilled to have the support of this premier group of forward-thinking investors as we take the company to the next level with our unique approach to surgical robotics,” Levita Magnetics founder and CEO Dr. Alberto Rodriguez-Navarro said in a news release. “At Levita, we believe that everyone deserves robotics, and our robotic platform is poised to solve the big problem of restricted access worldwide to robotic surgery.”