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Agilis Robotics Completes Trials of Endoscopic Surgery with Miniature Robot Instruments

Agilis Robotics new prototype endoscopic surgical robot

Hong Kong-based Agilis Robotics, which develops flexible robotic instruments that support endoscopic surgery, has announced it recently completed the second round of live animal testing using its proprietary robot. 

Dr. Jason Y.K. Chan, the co-founder of Agilis Robotics, has conducted the test with the firm’s second-generation device on a live pig specimen, successfully removing artificial tumors using the en-bloc resection of bladder tumor (ERBT) technique. The company said the test results met expectations, providing promising results for the accuracy, safety and efficacy of the medical robotic system.

WIth advice from surgeons on earlier models, the company said its research team has made several technical improvements to the original system to increase surgery efficiency. The new system features a set of flexible surgical robotic instruments, a positioning cart and surgeon’s control chair. The robotic instruments, with a diameter of less than 2.8 mm, can grip and cut away tumor tissue to remove it in its entirety.

With a smaller footprint, the updated positioning cart is 50% smaller, making it more compact and easier to position in an operating room. Second, the newly developed endoscope holder offers surgeons greater flexibility for positioning the endoscope and robotic instruments. During an operation, the surgeon can move the endoscope with one hand more easily. The holder includes an automatic locking mechanism that prevents the unit from moving around freely, streamlining the surgeon’s work and improving safety.

Agilis said the surgical tools have also been improved, allowing the surgeon to better visualize the surgical field beyond the instruments and increase load capacity to meet more demanding requirements. The electrosurgical knife instrument was improved to enable bipolar diathermy, which enhances tissue cutting effectiveness in bladder tumor resection, the company said. Improvements were also made to the controls and mechanical transmission, as well as ergonomics and the training simulator.

The company said it will test the system in animals for  upper and lower gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), in order to demonstrate potential within the market for GI diseases. The robotic system aims to address several challenges around endoscopic surgery, such as general  endoscope working channels (2.8 to 3.7 mm in diameter) that require considerable flexibility to adapt to the changing shape as the endoscope travels through the narrow passageways within the human body.

The advanced prototype is expected to be delivered to The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital in Q2 2023 for additional testing. The company closed its Series A fundraising in June 2022, and expects to start a pre-B funding round with a minimum investment of $10 million. For more details on the company and its robotic system, visit the Agilis Robotics website here.

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