Heart valve and obesity, avenues for development of intelligent robots from Caranx Medical

What will be the next medical revolution? Intelligent and autonomous surgical robotics, of course. This is at least the conviction of the three founding directors of Caranx Medical. “Medical is following the path taken 25 years ago by aeronautics where fully automated technology has revolutionized pilot practice. This is what we seek to do with Caranx, revolutionize surgical practice through autonomous robots that can perform complex procedures programmed by the clinician in an automated way.“, notes Philippe Pouletty, Managing Director of Truffle Capital and President of the Côte d’Azur medtech. Born in 2020 in Nice, Caranx Medical is indeed part of the investment capital fund’s portfolio of companies, “start-ups that present not marginal innovations for improvement but breakthrough technologies aimed at transforming the sector in which they operate“In this case, here, by making it possible to standardize procedures, to open access to interventional medicine to the entire population and to increase productivity within hospitals and clinics.

A first short-term prototype

The start-up has chosen two clinical areas to prove itself. The first – the most advanced – concerns the replacement of heart valves independently, a complex procedure that requires seven operating steps: analysis of preoperative images, planning, vascular access, navigation inside the vessels, valve positioning, validation and closure. “It is a question of copying this manual procedure, of reproducing exactly the same times and in the same way as a surgeon“, explains Pierre Berthet-Rayne, technical director and former researcher in medical robotics. After two years of R&D, the company of 17 people is about to finish a first prototype and a PoC is in preparation on the autonomous percutaneous function, understanding the procedure going from the detection of the patient on the table by the robot until the introduction of the syringe at the level of the femoral artery.Technical trials will begin in October with the aim of making a first on humans in 2024“.

Obesity too

The second subject addressed by Caranx Medical concerns obesity. “Obesity is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide. It represents 5 billion euros of health expenditure in France, where there are 8.5 million obese people, or 17% of the population who can thus lose up to 15 years of life expectancy.“, warns Éric Sejor, surgeon and medical director of medtech. Which wants to facilitate surgical treatment to reduce the size of the stomach, breaking with the usual complex intervention, which consists of an open belly operation, to pass through the natural channels, in this case the mouth.”It is a less morbid, less expensive solution, which would allow basic gastroenterologists to perform an intervention currently reserved for experienced surgeons.“In this regard, a financing request from Bpifrance will be submitted very soon.

Funding

The financing precisely. “Truffle Capital takes the risk and provides financing throughout the R&D phase“, explains Philippe Pouletty. The company also activates the lever of public aid such as the CIR (Research Tax Credit) or Bpifrance, which supports the heart valve project to the tune of 2 million euros. “It is only after the first clinical results that we will open the capital to co-investors“, he continues. Then, two options present themselves: the IPO, on Euronext, “as we often do with our biotechs and medtechs“, or the merger with another company in the fund such as ArteDrone, which specializes in the development of magnetic micro-robots capable of unclogging the cerebral arteries after a stroke. But that’s another story.