Sharpening the Focus on the Future of Eye Surgery: Our Series A in ForSight Robotics
Jul 18, 2022|
The Eclipse team is thrilled to participate in ForSight’s $55M Series A to help accelerate the company’s mission of increasing accessibility to ophthalmic surgery procedures worldwide and transforming the future of eye surgery
I am excited to announce Eclipse’s continued partnership with ForSight Robotics, accelerating the company’s mission of increasing accessibility to ophthalmic surgery procedures worldwide and transforming the future of eye surgery. We are thrilled to participate in the company’s $55M Series A alongside The Adani Group and Mithril Capital.
ForSight, the pioneer in ophthalmic robotic surgery, is advancing the world’s first surgical platform for fully robotic cataract surgery: ORYOM. An estimated 2.2 billion people worldwide have a vision impairment. Yet, according to the British Journal of Ophthalmology, affluent nations have only 72 eye surgeons per million people, while low-income countries average only 3.7 per million people. This burden is estimated to cost $3 trillion annually in lost productivity, healthcare, and social care. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies in microsurgical robotics, computer visualization, and machine learning, the ORYOM platform automates the complex subtleties of ophthalmic surgery to treat diseases underlying preventable blindness. ForSight’s platform will raise the bar for high quality procedures with 10 times more accuracy than the human hand, delivering consistency and extremely safe surgeries.
Prior to meeting the ForSight team, Pierre and I had talked a lot about this space due to several factors, including the growing aging population that would need these types of surgeries. He had met a doctor at Stanford, who made it clear that there is more of a demand for these procedures than surgeons capable of providing them. We knew the problem would continue to proliferate worldwide if there wasn’t a solution capable of scaling the volume of quality procedures in order to meet the demand of the patient population. Given our understanding that autonomy can be a useful tool to solve for precision, volume, and repeatability in other markets, Pierre and I started to wonder whether robotics could be an answer.
Based on what we uncovered during our research, we only gained more conviction that robotics could provide a solution to the problem. In the case of ophthalmology, there were numerous opportunities that attracted us to this application of robotics versus other medical procedures. When it comes to cataract surgery, the cornea is transparent and there is great visualization, which makes it a lot easier to get a robot involved and develop a clinical data set. Cataract surgery also requires unbelievable dexterity and fine motor control—so much so that surgeons do not drink coffee the day before the surgery. We’re talking micron levels of manipulation—perfect for a robot. When it comes to medical devices and clinical trials in general, it’s important to understand the outcome of the procedure and the associated cost as quickly as possible. The ability to efficiently build a clinical data set then gives a sense of the performative nature of the solution and is extremely important in order to submit the data set with the right regulatory framework to get the appropriate approvals. With ForSight, we saw a clear and well-defined path forward to securing regulatory approvals for the use of robotics in ophthalmology-oriented procedures.
As we started to get a better understanding of how robotics could play a major role in delivering accessibility to ophthalmic surgery procedures worldwide, we met the ForSight Co-Founders, Dr. Daniel Glozman, Dr. Joseph Nathan, and Professor Moshe Shoham. We were immediately impressed not only by their depth of knowledge, but more importantly, depth of experience. Dr. Glozman, ForSight’s CEO, specialized in robotics for medical applications for over 20 years, heading R&D at Medtronic Ventor Technologies, Magenta Medical, Diagnostic Robotics, and Guide-X—which he also founded. Professor Shoham, ForSight’s CSO, is an acclaimed emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at the Technion and former head of its robotics laboratory. Besides his many academic honors, Professor Shoham founded Mazor Robotics, the leading spinal robotics platform, which has since been acquired by Medtronic plc. He’s also an international member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Nathan, ForSight’s CBO, previously directed healthcare commercialization at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, where he forged partnerships worth over $1 billion with global pharmaceutical and med-tech companies. He also served as director of New Ventures for the Alfred Mann Institute at the Technion, a $100 million joint venture incubating medical startups. Not only were their backgrounds world-class, but their skills also complemented each other. That coupled with the significant market opportunity they were going after made our seed investment a no brainer.
Though we still have a long journey ahead as we bring Forsight’s vision into sharper focus, the team has made incredible progress since Eclipse’s original seed investment. The Co-Founders have hired a team of functional experts in all the necessary areas required to build a world-class solution. Over the past year, the ForSight team worked directly with the best surgeons in the world to co-design a solution that meets all of the requirements necessary to enable those surgeons to more efficiently drive patient outcomes of the highest quality.
ForSight’s Series A will enable the team to build the next generation of ORYOM that will be utilized in a clinical trial setting. Building a robust clinical data set that proves the system’s ability to drive better patient outcomes is a critical step on the journey to provide a safe, reliable, performative solution for ophthalmic surgery globally.
The problem the ForSight team has their sight set on is a big one. Through their differentiated approach, I believe they will build a generational company that will deliver a massive impact on a global scale. By enabling surgeons to perform in a superhuman fashion through the use of advanced robotics, ForSight has the opportunity to improve healthcare for all by making ophthalmic surgeries more accessible, efficient, and cost effective.
Congratulations Dr. Glozman, Dr. Nathan, Professor Moshe, and the entire ForSight team!