Noah Medical, the California-based medical robotics startup, announced on Wednesday it raised $150 million in fresh funding. The round was co-led by Softbank Vision Fund and Prosperity7 Ventures. Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital China and UpHonest Capital were among the investors that participated in the round.
The funding comes just a month after the Food and Drug Administration cleared Noah Medical’s lung bronchoscopy device for commercial use in the U.S. Known as the Galaxy system, the platform snakes a robotic arm through the lung’s airways and looks for cancer cells among the tissue. The same device is currently undergoing clinical trials in Australia.
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“Next generation robotics platforms like the Galaxy System are filling procedural gaps to provide superior clinical values to better serve customers’ needs,” said Noah Medical founder and CEO Jian Zhang.
Noah Medical’s disposable probes allow medical institutions to use the same device between patients faster. Rather than resanitizing the device, users can simply replace the probe, leading to faster turnaround times and making it possible for doctors to see more patients in the same time span.
The growing diagnostics market
Diagnostics rarely got its fair share of respect until the COVID-19 pandemic started. But all treatments start with diagnosing the problem.
In 2022, $3.5 billion in funding flooded into the space (per Crunchbase News) as venture firms recognized that the adoption of easier-to-use diagnostics tools could save health institutions money and lower the spend of health care in the U.S.
“Humans are missing a lot of diseases because there is an inherent mindset where they’re thinking, ‘Can I treat this patient tomorrow?’” Kaushal Solanki, CEO and founder of medical imaging AI startup Eyenuk, told Crunchbase in November. “And that’s not the preferred threshold.”
Robotics have quickly been making their way into the diagnostics category, but bronchoscopy devices have been rather slow to make a dent in the pulmonology world. Many of these are required to act as an all-in-one device that provides medical imaging. They also need to have a small, compact footprint and be easy and intuitive to use, otherwise overworked nurses and doctors are less likely to adopt them.
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