COVID-19 has disrupted many industries this year – from travel to food to healthcare. 2020 has exposed deep vulnerabilities in these sectors and presented opportunities for innovation. Health care is undergoing a rapid transformation to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and we believe there has never been a better time to reimagine the system.
One of the fastest-growing sectors of healthcare is medical robotics. Incubated as a nascent idea by the Department of Defense and affiliates like SRI and refined by visionary innovators like Fred Moll, MD, medical robotics are now a mainstay of surgery. Intuitive Surgical launched the first surgical robot in 1999, the da Vinci robot. Four generations of da Vinci robot later, with more than 4,000 units installed globally, the da Vinci robot is the focus of greater than 10,000 peer-reviewed publications and is an indispensable part of many surgical disciplines. Robotics have also found widespread acceptance in Orthopedic (Mako/Stryker) and Spinal (Mazor/Medtronic) surgical procedures as well. Robots in all of these disciplines have demonstrated benefits over traditional surgery in terms of shorter operating times, reduced length of hospital stays, reduced blood loss, and reduced short-term perioperative morbidity.
Neocis and the Yomi Platform
Last year, we had the opportunity to invest in Neocis, a dental robotics company committed to enhancing oral and dental surgeons’ capabilities and advancing patient care. The team developed the Yomi® surgical platform, the first and only robot-assisted surgical platform for the dental industry. Their technology enables procedures to be performed more consistently, accurately, and with a minimally invasive flapless approach.
Using cutting-edge mechatronics, haptics and image guidance, the company’s Yomi platform provides surgeons enhanced image guidance and enhanced motor control through robotic actuation and control. The Yomi® platform was recently cleared in the summer of 2020 by the FDA to also perform full-arch surgery. This surgery is indicated in patients that are missing either their entire upper or bottom row of teeth. The procedure involves drilling between four and eight posts into the jaw and fitting a prosthetic set of teeth on top of those posts. By hand, the procedure can take between two and three hours per arch and often has to be revised due to difficulty in aligning multiple posts with the prosthetics. The Yomi® platform has the potential to drastically reduce surgical time (down to 20 or 30 minutes in some cases), has the potential to improve efficiency and accuracy, and allows surgeons the opportunity to reduce or eliminate the need for more invasive approaches.
A World-Class Team
This tremendous progress would not be possible without the incredible, one-of-a-kind team behind Neocis. The company was founded in 2009 by Alon Mozes PhD and Juan Salcedo, both experienced in surgical robotics for more than 20 years. In 2005, Alon and Juan met while working as principal software engineers at MAKO (orthopedics robotics company). Together they developed the ground-breaking RIO system for guided orthopedics surgery. Alon and Juan’s contribution to Mako’s resounding success led to the company’s IPO and subsequent sale to Stryker in 2013 for $1.65B.
Today, we’re thrilled to join Neocis’ $72M Series D round alongside new investors DFJ Growth and Vivo Capital. Mithril Capital Management, Fred Moll MD, and Section 32 are also returning to invest in the round.
We could not be more optimistic about the potential for the Yomi® platform to usher in a new era of digital dentistry and robotic oral surgery. The platform not only will transform the way single implant and full arch procedures are performed, but also will revolutionize many other dental and oral surgeries. There is also broader potential to incorporate the power and precision of the Yomi® robotic surgical platform into almost every aspect of dentistry and to increase dental safety for both the patient and dentist. We could not be more excited for the entire Neocis team and cannot wait to see what the future holds!