Activ Surgical, a Boston-based digital surgery company, announced the $45 million Series B round on Thursday. This round comes in the critical year for Active Surgical. It is in the process of creating new equipment that gives surgeons the ability to see otherwise invisible structures and plans to launch that equipment in the coming months. The first of these tools is the company’s hardware component, known as ActivSight, which allows surgeons to see things that would otherwise be invisible, such as blood flow through a microscopic vessel inside a tissue.
The hardware, which received FDA 510 (k) clearance in April 2021, fits between any type of endoscope and a white light camera system. With the push of a button, ActivSight already allows features like blood flow (usually invisible, not to use injectable dyes) to turn on the lights like a Christmas tree. But in contrast to the injectable dye method, ActivSight can visualize blood flow in real-time (e.g., tissue color changes when blood flow is slowed or stopped). CEO Todd Eugene said, “This is the only system in the world that cans insight into things like blood flow without the injection of any pigment.”
This most recent round will be used to support the commercialization of ActivSight, which is expected to go live in seven state hospital systems in Q4 2021 or next year. It will help collect a CE certification – a marketing clearance that allows medical devices to be marketed in Europe – that will allow Activision to launch in seven European countries in 2022.
Finally, the round will support the construction of Active’s more ambitious AI-based projects, which will allow ActivSight devices to identify more basic structures for surgeons using it. Round funding was led by Kota Capital. Including Quota Capital, the round will bring seven new investors into active surgery: BAM Fund, Magnetar Capital, Mint Ventures, Castor Ventures, Dream One Vision, and NVIDIA. The company has raised $77 million in funding so far.
Active Surgical first made headlines in 2016 for creating a robot that made the first fully autonomous stitching of soft tissue. The company’s founder, Peter Kim, himself patented a type of robotic auxiliary surgery. But despite that, the company is not concentrating on building robots. “While robots are great, they’re only used in 10% of minimally invasive surgeries. A robot can reach something that humans can’t, but so far, a robot can’t see something that humans can’t,” Usen said.