Auris Surgical Robotics Nabs $150 Million in Funding, Remains Mum on Use of Financing
September 24, 2015
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
SAN CARLOS, Calif. – Bay Area’s Auris Surgical Robotics raised $150 million in new financing, the company reported in a Series D regulatory filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company has not said what it intends to do with the fresh infusion of funding. An Auris spokesperson told MedCity News that the company is “deep in stealth mode and will not comment about the funding, or how it will be used.”
Stealth mode is a good descriptor for Auris, which has not disclosed much information since its founding. Auris is the fourth surgical robotics company founded by Frederic Moll. Little information about the company is posted on its website other than information about the company board of directors.
The SEC filing lists the members of the board of directors as the principals involved in the deal. The names are:
• David Styka, who is listed as the chief financial officer. Styka joined Auris in 2014. Prior to this position, he serves as CFO of Revance Therapeutics for 12 years.
• Ajay Royan, who cofounded Mithril Capital Management in 2012, is listed as the managing general partner of Auris. He formerly serve as managing director of Clarium. He was also the co-founder of Breakout Labs.
• Frederic Moll is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Auris. Before Auris, Moll co-founded Hansen Medical and served as that company’s CEO from 2002 to 2010. He also founded the medical device manufacturing company Origin MedSystems, Inc., which was acquired by Guidant Corporation and later Eli Lilly. Moll also founded Intuitive Surgical, which launched the da Vinci Surgical System, which features a 3D HD vision system for a clear and magnified view inside the patient's body.
• Peter Hebert is the co-founder of Lux Capital and focuses on investments and technology, according to the Auris website.
• Bijan Salehizadeh is the co-founder of NaviMed Capital according to the Auris website.
In 2013 Auris and Biolase Technology struck a deal to develop a cataract-removal ophthalmologic robot. The companies said the goal of the joint product was “to improve the precision, safety, and predictability of cataract-removal procedures, similar to the way other telerobotic systems have enhanced therapeutic effectiveness of procedures such as prostatectomy, fibroidectomy, and knee hemi-arthroplasty.”
Auris, founded in 2011, is described in the 2013 press release as “a venture-funded company developing a robotic microsurgical system designed specifically for ophthalmic surgery.”
In 2014 Auris raised $34.4 million in funding. Like this most recent funding round, Auris remained mum on the use of the funds.
Will the Presidential Election Change the Face of the Way Prescription Drugs are Sold in the United States?
Although Turing Pharmaceuticals announced it will revise its 5,000 percent increase of a newly acquired drug to treat toxoplasmosis, the move sparked a public outcry that resulted in one presidential candidate calling for price caps on prescription medication.
In August, Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim from Impax Laboratories and increased the price of the medication from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet, a 5,000 percent increase. Turing Chief Executive Officer Martin Shkreli defended the increase, saying the revenues would be used to subsidize new research into treatments for toxoplasmosis. Has since said the company will reduce the price, but did not specify what the price would be.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said if elected she would cap monthly out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs at $250 to avoid “price gouging.” Her comment sent the stock market into a state of flux, with several large companies seeing a drop in their stock of up to 10 percent. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index dropped 4.4 percent and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF dropped by 6 percent.
BioSpace wants to know what you think: Will the presidential election change the face of the way prescription drugs are sold in the United States?