Bolstered by a recent $26 million fund-raising and positive results from clinical surgery trials in Chile, Silicon Valley-based Levita Magnetics is embarked on bringing its disruptive magnetic-assisted robotic surgery (MARS) platform into the healthcare system.
The MARS platform is designed to deliver the clinical benefits of the company’s first commercial product, the Levita Magnetic Surgical System including less pain, faster recovery and fewer scars for patients. With its compact footprint, the system is designed for outpatient or same-day discharge procedures in high-volume abdominal surgeries. MARS aims to increase the volume of high-quality, efficiently performed procedures while increasing access by making robotic surgery available across the care spectrum from community to academic centers and by improving the patient experience. Additional benefits include the potential for improved visualization, enhanced surgeon control of instruments and increased hospital efficiency with fewer assistive personnel required to conduct the procedures.
More than 30 cases have been performed with the system in a clinical trial in Chile, including obesity procedures and same day discharge gall bladder removals. In all cases, a reduced port technique was utilized, reducing the number of incisions for the patients. The first case was a reduced-incision gallbladder removal completed in 2021 by Dr. Ignacio Robles, a minimally invasive surgeon at Clínica INDISA in Santiago, as part of the clinical study. Now, supported by the venture capital funding in August 2022, Levita is pursuing regulatory and near-term commercial efforts in the U.S.
“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,” said Dr. Alberto Rodriguez-Navarro, surgeon, founder and CEO of Levita Magnetics. “At Levita, we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of MARS, offering the potential for less pain, faster recovery, and less scarring. Our platform is poised to address the worldwide problem of limited access to better robotic surgery.”
“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,” said Maria Sainz, a seasoned medical technology executive who was appointed chairwoman in 2022 to support the effort. She has more than 25 years of experience in the medical technology industry including serving as president and CEO of AEGEA Medical, Cardiokinetix and Concentric Medical, among other roles. She also serves as a member of the board of directors of Shockwave Medical, Avanos Medical, Hyperfine, Atrion Corporation and Tissium.
The system enables reduced-port laparoscopic surgical procedures designed to minimize the footprint of surgery. The system, which consists of an external magnet placed on the skin that controls a shaftless detachable grasper, enables instruments to move without the constraints of a fixed-position pivot point.
Magnetic surgery can be applied to a number of procedures. In weight-loss surgery, it can eliminate the abdominal incision just below the middle of the ribcage and lifts the liver to expose the stomach for the procedure. In traditional laparoscopic surgery, a tool is typically inserted through this incision to lift the liver. This incision is associated with post-operative pain, interferes with a woman’s bra-strap during recovery and results in visible scarring. For gallbladder removal, magnetic surgery is used to retract the gallbladder, enabling one less incision and tube to be used. In colorectal procedures, it can grasp and retract tissue to facilitate access and visualization of the surgical site. For prostrate removal, the technique is used to retract the prostate and surrounding tissue while reducing the number of tubes and incisions required. The magnetic retraction also facilitates the surgeon’s ability to access and see the surgical field helping preserve sexual function and urinary continence. For more info, see www.levita.com.