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MicroPort Scientific Corp. said last week that it has formed a joint venture with Robocath to develop and distribute vascular robotics in China. The companies said they are executing on definitive agreements announced in April 2020. MicroPort subsidiary MicroPort MedBot (Shanghai) Co. will own 51% of the joint venture, and Robocath will own 49%.
Founded in 2014, MicroPort MedBot develops robotic systems for minimally invasive surgery. The Shanghai-based company‘s Toumai laparoscopic surgical robot, Skywalker joint-replacement surgery robot, and DFVision three-dimensional electronic laparoscope have entered the “Green Path,” or special approval procedure for innovative medical devices, of China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA). The NMPA is the equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
MicroPort MedBot said it is the only surgical robot company with three Green Path grants in the People’s Republic of China. Its current business covers five segments, including endoscope, orthopedics, vascular intervention, natural orifice, and percutaneous puncture. MicroPort MedBot raised $512 million in September 2020.
Founded in 2009, Rouen, France-based Robocath designs, develops, and commercializes robotic solutions to treat vascular diseases. The company’s R-One system was designed to assist interventional cardiologists in stenting (angioplasty) by enabling precision technologies that is compatible with existing interventional devices and cath labs.
In a prospective, randomized, controlled preclinical trial, R-One achieved 100% technical procedure success and no major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). In 2019, R-One was the first European robotic system to obtain the CE mark in the field of interventional cardiology. It is currently available in Europe and Africa. Robocath raised $43.7 million in Series C funding in April 2020.
MicroPort, Robocath focus on Chinese market
The joint venture (JV) is intended to help Robocath‘s systems obtain NMPA regulatory approval, said the partners. It will also set up manufacturing for cassettes and assembly for robots to be distributed in Greater China. In addition, MicroPort Medbot and Robocath will carry out research and development related to long-distance remote control over 5G network technologies and develop artificial intelligence algorithms to be used with Robocath systems.
“Since the announcement of our strategic partnership, we have made tremendous progress with RoboCath on forming and setting up the JV for future success in the China vascular robotics market,” stated Dr. Alex He, general manager of MedBot. “We appreciate the co-operative efforts from the Robocath team and look forward to delivering to the China market a world-class vascular robot.”
The joint venture will begin immediately the type testing, clinical, and regulatory activities required to receive NMPA approval for the R-One system.
“Robocath is excited to take the next step in opening the China market for its vascular robotics systems,” said Dr. Phillippe Bencteux, founder and president of Robocath, “We have been impressed with the MedBot team and look forward to a strong JV partnership with MedBot.”