CGBIO, a regenerative medicine company in South Korea, and NDR Medical Technology, a Singaporean AI medical device maker, have joined hands to introduce an AI robotic intervention device through upcoming clinical studies.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Founded in 2015, NDR Medical Technology has developed what could be the world’s first patented automated needle targeting (ANT) system that facilitates safe and accurate needle punctures to human organs, such as lungs, kidneys, pancreas and spine.

The company’s ANT with X-ray (ANT-X) system combines AI and medical image processing to assist surgeons during minimally invasive surgery. At the core of the system is an interventional robot that integrates C-arm fluoroscopy and CT imaging for percutaneous needle placement. According to NDR’s website, the device automates calibration and the needle alignment with a single x-ray image within a “few seconds,” allowing surgeons to “focus solely on controlling the depth of insertion”. 

NDR emphasises that with this device, a quick needle alignment renders less fluoroscopic time and thus, less radiation exposure for both patients and clinicians. 

The ANT-X system has received CE certification in Europe and has already undergone clinical studies in Japan and other Southeast Asian countries.

WHY IT MATTERS

According to CGBIO, many clinicians still perform interventional procedures based on a separate program to assess a patient’s anatomy and conduct trajectory path alignment in placing the needle from the insertion point to the selected target. These procedures can be time-consuming and can result in “insufficient” precision.

Under this latest partnership, CGBIO, which manufactures and distributes products and solutions for spinal disorders and wound management, will conduct clinical trials with doctors in South Korea to expand the use case of the ANT-X system in various areas of interventional procedures requiring percutaneous needle placement, such as urology, orthopaedics and neurosurgery.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

Robotic devices have continued to permeate the healthcare scene in Asia-Pacific this year. Recently, Australian medical technology startup Vexev has emerged from stealth to unveil its tomographic ultrasound robot. The device automates ultrasound procedures by producing 3D tomographic ultrasound outputs similar to those generated by MRIs and CTs. It is also being slated for clinical trials in Sydney.

A UK-based medtech company, Smith+Nephew, has brought its robotics platform CORI Surgical System to Australia, New Zealand and India. It is a handheld robotics solution for unicompartmental and total knee arthroplasties.

Another medtech firm, China-based Ronovo Surgical, secured investments in May to pursue multiple strategic partnerships around the world to quickly develop technologies around digital and minimally invasive surgery.

A forecast from Statista states that the global surgical robots market might rise to $12.6 billion in value by 2025 from $4.5 billion in 2016.

ON THE RECORD

“Many global medical device companies have endeavoured to [partner] with top candidates for AI software-based digital transformation… Based on the accumulated regenerative medicine technology and numerous clinical experience hitherto, CGBIO and NDR together will explore the field of AI-based digital healthcare technology in Asia. Through our commitment to providing reliable and accurate medical services to patients, we count on stronger business competitiveness in the global digital healthcare market,” CGBIO CEO Hyunseung Yu said.

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By seohan