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Setting Trends in Surgical Robotics

MD+DI sat down with Dave Saunders, the CTO and cofounder of Galen Robotics, to discuss the trends and upcoming business opportunities affecting companies in the medtech space.

Adrienne Zepeda

September 8, 2022

3 Min Read
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Image courtesy of marcos alvarado / Alamy Stock Photo

There is a growing interest in robotics in medical manufacturing. Investors continue funding the latest robotics innovations in the medical and manufacturing sectors. With plenty of cash in the market, venture capital (VC), private equity (PE), and strategic investors aim to capitalize on and steer the development of disruptive robotics technologies. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global industrial robots market is expected to reach $31.13 billion by 2028, up from $14.61 billion in 2020.

Many companies are developing robots to work alongside people in the medical space, including Galen Robotics, whose mission is to make doctors’ lives easier. The Galen Robotics surgical robotic platform works with standard surgical instruments to assist multiple procedures that occur daily in the operating room.

Recently, MD+DI sat down with Dave Saunders, the CTO and cofounder of Galen Robotics, to discuss the trends and upcoming business opportunities affecting companies in the medtech space. He and Galen Robotics will be on hand at BIOMEDevice Boston from Sept. 28-29 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in Boston. Those interested in attending the biomedical show specializing in emerging technologies and products can register here.

Adrienne: For those who don’t know who you are, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you fit into the biomedical industry.

 Dave: Galen Robotics has developed a cooperative microsurgical robot that intends to fill in some key unmet needs in robotic surgery. It’s ergonomically designed to fit into existing surgical workflows without the need for a dedicated operating room or to move the surgeon out of their preferred location by the patient. We plan to utilize an affordable as-a-service model to provide these surgical robots broadly to hospitals and facilities based on per-usage operational charges rather than large and restrictive capital purchases. The company is pursuing  digital surgery as a service to bring new solutions to data collection, training, and guidance to the OR. We are commercializing the research done in the Laboratory of Computational Sensing and Robotics of Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and working closely with those pioneers and leaders. Specifically, the work of Dr. Kevin Olds and Dr. Russell Taylor in the invention of the Robotic ENT Microsurgical System at JHU helped us start our journey.

 Adrienne: We're so excited to have your support as a prominent speaker at BIOMEDevice Boston. Do you have any exciting news to share from Galen Robotics?

Dave: We recently filed for clearance with  FDA for our surgical robotic platform.

 Adrienne: What trends do you see coming down the pipeline and how will they be highlighted at this event?

Dave: I think that post-pandemic, if you can call it that, there are two big changes for surgical robotics, as well as other areas of medical technology: leverage and cooperation. The familiar capital-intensive have- and have-nots model of procurement is giving way to a shared risk model, where vendors participate in the risk and cost of getting solutions to providers, so the onus is not completely on the provider. Hospitals faced an existential crisis during the peak of the pandemic, and many still do. As they return to health, business simply cannot be the same. Hefty capital purchases are far less viable today, and there needs to be better democratization of technology. In addition, I think there will be fewer one-trick-ponies. You'll see surgical robots become more versatile to accommodate different tools and be applicable to a wider variety of procedures. Better utilizing data will bring better efficiency and outcomes. Better integration will benefit everyone.

Adrienne: What are you looking forward to the most at BIOMEDevice Boston this September?

Dave: BIOMEDevice Boston is a great opportunity to see what is going on in the industry and look for inspiration on how to bring multiple solutions together as we approach a more integrated environment in the medical industry. I’m excited to be there.

About the Author(s)

Adrienne Zepeda

Adrienne Zepeda, Group Event Director

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