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Titan Medical Inc. has resumed development of its single-port robotic surgical system, said CEO David McNally in a letter to shareholders yesterday. The Toronto-based company had paused research and development while pursuing financing.
In March 2019, the maker of the Sport robot-assisted surgical system closed a $25 million public offering. In August, Titan Medical raised another $3 million but pushed back its timeline for Sport. In November, the company announced another R&D delay. In February 2020, McNally told shareholders that Titan needed to raise $85 million to bring Sport to market.
Last month, Titan Medical announced an agreement with Medtronic PLC on joint development, as well as an $18 million direct offering. It also established a U.S. subsidiary for further R&D. Titan has received a $10 million license payment and $1.5 million loan as part of its deal with Dublin, Ireland-based Medtronic.
Titan CEO sees opportunity
McNally said that the market opportunity for single-port robotic surgery appears promising. He noted that surgeons are reporting clinical success while using Intuitive Surgical Inc.’s da Vinci SP — presently the only commercially available single-port offering — but that success involves surgical indications outside the initial target area that Titan is pursuing.
“We believe that our robotic-assisted surgical system, having been designed with a focus on single-port surgery, may provide competitive advantages for physicians and their clinical teams, hospitals, and patients,” McNally wrote. “Should we be able to complete product development and achieve regulatory clearance in a timely manner, upon commercialization, we expect our single-port system to expand the market for robotic-assisted surgery with attractive pricing, a reduced operating-room footprint, and greater portability within the hospital.”
Surgical robots and healthcare systems in general have continued to receive funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ABI Research. “Surgical robots also received huge funding, and have already been commercialized to a considerable extent, with Intuitive Surgical selling over 5,000 Da Vinci robot systems to date,” stated Rian Whitton, a senior analyst at ABI Research.
Titan Medical said it plans to focus early commercialization efforts on U.S. ambulatory surgery centers that want to perform benign procedures in a lower-cost setting than hospitals.
Under its agreement with Medtronic, Titan Medical could receive a series of license payments totaling up to $31 million.
“Our engineering team and product development partners are working toward the achievement of the first milestone in October 2020,” said McNally. “If successful, Titan will receive a payment of $10 million before proceeding to the second of the three development milestones, to be completed in 2021.”