The Vicarious Surgical robotic solution ‘has arms that replicate human motion, offering remarkable mobility with 9 degrees of freedom per arm with 360-degree visualisation, all through a 1.5 cm incision’
➨ The agreement gives the combined business an enterprise value of $1.1 billion
➨ Vicarious Surgical already in receipt of the breakthrough device designation for its technology from the US Food and Drug Administration
➨ Vicarious Surgical’s current management team will remain in charge
Vicarious Surgical, the virtual reality and robotics company, is combining with D8 Holdings Corp and launching on the New York Stock Exchange.
The agreement gives the combined business, known as Vicarious Surgical Inc and trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol “RBOT”, an enterprise value of $1.1 billion.
Vicarious Surgical launched in 2014. Based in Massachusetts, USA, the company developed a novel surgical approach that uses human-like surgical robots and virtual reality to transport surgeons inside the patient to perform minimally invasive surgery.
TechCrunch described the technology and techniques at play last year as “like science fiction”. They involve a miniature robot performing surgical procedures under the control of a surgeon who can be outside of the operating room, via a virtual reality headset.
It’s a very much a scientific fact today, with Vicarious Surgical already in receipt of the breakthrough device designation for its technology from the US Food and Drug Administration.
Adam Sachs, co-founder and chief executive officer of Vicarious Surgical, describes the technology in more detail: “Our robotic solution has arms that replicate human motion, offering remarkable mobility with 9 degrees of freedom per arm with 360-degree visualisation, all through a 1.5 cm incision. Our robot can see, reach, and work anywhere inside the abdomen, which effectively shrinks the surgeon and puts her/him inside the human body.”
“Our system fits through a standard door, making it portable from operating room to operating room, and does not require a large footprint or facility construction build-out.”
Backers of Vicarious Surgical include Bill Gates
Its early and current backers saw its potential, backing Vicarious Surgical to the tune of more than $30 million as of 2019.
Among those backers are some significant names, including Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, Jerry Yang, Neil Devani and Marc Benioff through various investment vehicles.
The combination with D8, a special purpose acquisition company headquartered in Hong Kong and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, will deliver up to $460 million of gross proceeds, including up to $345 million of cash held in D8’s trust account.
The transaction is being supported by a $115 million private placement of common stock, priced at $10 per share, in exchange for investment from global medical technology company BD, new institutional investors and existing investors, including Gates, Vinod Khosla’s Khosla Ventures, Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, and Philip Liang’s E15 VC.
The newly formed Vicarious Surgical Inc is projected to have more than $425 million in cash on its balance sheet after closing, which is expected in Q3 2021.
Vicarious Surgical’s current management team, including co-founders Sachs and Sammy Khalifa, who is also the company’s chief technology officer, will remain in charge.
D8 co-founder and president Donald Tang, along with director Dr David Da-I Ho, will become members of the combined company’s board.
Sachs comments: “We are extremely excited to announce our partnership with Donald Tang, [D8 chief executive officer] David Chu and the rest of the D8 team, which we believe will assist in catalysing the development of our flagship robot and in establishing a foundation of long-term growth for our company.”
“Mr Tang and the D8 team appreciate the potential impact our technology can have on making procedures safer and more available to patients, while simultaneously saving hospitals money and time. We look forward to entering the public markets with the team from D8 at our side.”
Tang adds: “D8 reviewed numerous investment opportunities in search of an exciting growth company to merge with and Vicarious Surgical impressed us with their visionary team and market disrupting products.”
“Beyond the technology and the capabilities of Vicarious Surgical’s robot, we were also excited about the positive feedback from surgeons and hospitals. We consider Vicarious Surgical to be a thought leader in the surgical space and we believe the market is ready for surgical robots that drive efficiency and improved quality of patient care.”
“We are excited to work with the Vicarious Surgical team on the next phase of commercialisation for their products, bringing what we believe is much needed innovation and choice to patients and practitioners, both in the US and abroad.”