May 26, 2022

Boston-based Zeta Surgical emerges from the shadows this week with the announcement of a $5.2 million seed round. The funding, led by Innospark Ventures, followed a $250,000 pre-seed with Y Combinator and Plug and Play Ventures.

The company was founded by Harvard alumni José Maria Amich and Rahil Shah, who currently serve as CEO and CTO, respectively. William Gormley, associate professor of neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School, is the company’s medical director. The mission of the team is to provide accurate surgical imaging guidance for non-invasive surgeries performed outside the operating room.

Starting with procedures such as ventriculostomy and neuromodulation, Zeta believes their technology can help democratize such procedures by providing greater precision and lowering the barrier to entry.

“We have a huge gap between accuracy on the one hand, and a complete lack of technique and accuracy for the group’s work on the other,” Gormley said. “The reason is that there are more and more of them, and the technology is not developed to care for this group of patients. which [Amich and Sha] We have come up with a method that we can apply very quickly and with a very small surgical team to a patient who is awake and really moving. It’s hard to overstate how different this is from what we do. This completely changes everything for this group of patients.”

image credit: Zeta Surgical

The Zeta System includes a mixed reality overlay designed to help surgeons explore minimally invasive neurosurgical procedures. It is paired with an optional robotic system that uses a ready-to-use Doosan robotic arm in combination with proprietary hardware. The team says they have been investigating imaging headsets but believe the technology is not yet precise enough for this type of operation.

“We looked at both augmented and virtual reality systems, but for now we are going to use standard on-screen navigation,” says Sha. “Part of it has to do with the technique — augmented reality systems don’t really have the precision needed for surgical-level accuracy. We can do AR overlay, but it won’t be as accurate as we need for neurosurgery.”

The startup has completed preclinical studies in Boston and Singapore, looking into the North American and Asian markets. The team plans to file an application with the FDA earlier this year, hoping to launch a commercial version of the device in late summer/early fall if approval goes according to plan.

“This current round is focused on two main outcomes: the completion of our first batch of clinical trials for the device,” explains Amich. “And the second is to get the device through FDA approval and run it with the first batch of our clinical partners after getting approval. A big part of this is the completion of full system development, which means our team is expanding and we are hiring new engineers. ,

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