Israeli med-tech startup Forsight Robotics Ltd. has closed a $10 million seed funding round led by Eclipse Ventures and joined by Mithril Capital.
The funding will help advance the company’s work on a surgical robotic platform that employs microsurgical robotics, computer visualization and machine learning to automate many of the complex elements of ophthalmic surgery. The platform, which is in the prototype stage, is being developed to perform surgical procedures that address preventable blindness and visual impairment.
The Yokneam, Israel-based company is also expanding its technical team and actively seeking software, hardware and mechanical engineers.
“Our partnership with Forsight is a continuation of our effort to invest in the most advanced robotics companies and support world-class talent with the necessary experience to build real-world solutions for highly valuable applications and industries,” Eclipse Ventures partner Seth Winterroth said in a statement. “This company meets all those criteria and one more: Its success will help millions of people around the world see and live better.”
New technology paves the way
The robotic platform being developed by Forsight will feature six degrees of freedom for improved dexterity and maneuverability, integration of microsurgical instruments, state-of-the-art stereoscopic imaging and machine learning advancements. The idea is for the physician operator to make the high-level decisions, while the robot performs the manual tasks requiring precise movements of only a few microns.
“What we’re doing now we weren’t able to do five or ten years ago due to advancements in these areas of imaging visualization and robotics,” Forsight co-founder and Chief Business Officer Joseph Nathan told BioWorld.
The aim of the company is the “democratization” of ophthalmic surgery, Nathan explained.
“Whenever you need to go for a surgery, you start asking people in your environment, ‘who is the best surgeon? who do you recommend?’ We think that in this age of modern technology, you shouldn’t be influenced by the manual capabilities of the surgeon,” he said. “Surgeries, across the board, should be standardized. Every patient around the world, regardless of if it is in Israel, Africa, or the U.S., should get the best possible surgery. This is what we are trying to do.”
Nathan described the market for robotics for ophthalmic surgery as “untapped” since robotics has captured only a small part of the surgical market overall. Right now, about 5% of surgeries are done using robotics and about 95% are done by humans. “We think it should be the other way around,” he said.
Building the team
While the company has only been around since 2020, the founders bring decades of experience in med tech and robotics. Forsight was co-founded by Nathan, Moshe Shoham, and the company’s CEO Daniel Glozman.
Nathan, who is a physician and engineer, comes to Forsight from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, where he directed health care commercialization and served as director of New Ventures for the Alfred Mann Institute, a $100 million joint venture that incubated medical startups.
Glozman specializes in robotics for medical applications for more than 20 years and previously ran research and development at Medtronic Ventor Technologies, Magenta Medical, Diagnostic Robotics, and Guide-X.
Moshe Shoham is an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering and former head of the robotics laboratory at Technion. He previously founded Mazor Robotics Ltd., a spinal robotics developer, which was acquired by Medtronic plc in 2018 in a $1.7 billion deal.
The company has recruited a clinical advisory board with six ophthalmic surgeons, along with a strategic advisory board that includes Fred Moll, co-founder of Intuitive Surgical Inc. and Auris Health Inc.; Rony Abovitz, cofounder of Mako Surgical Inc. and Magic Leap Inc.; and Mithril co-founder Ajay Royan.