Vicarious, which has sought to bring robotics and virtual reality to minimally invasive surgery, will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RBOT after the merger with D8 Holdings.
Hong Kong–based D8 Holdings’ acquisition of Vicarious Surgical will add more than $425 million in cash to Vicarious’s balance sheet upon the deal’s close, including a $115 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) priced at $10 per share. Pipe investors include strategic investor BD, new institutional investors and existing investors including Bill Gates, Vinod Khosla’s Khosla Ventures, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, and Philip Liang’s E15 VC.
The SPAC deal comes nearly a year and a half after FDA provided breakthrough device designation for Vicarious’ robot, which includes features such as arms that replicate human motion. The system boasts 9 degrees of freedom per arm with 360-degree visualization, all through a 1.5 cm incision.
The Charlestown, Mass.–based company is among a dozen companies that are significant players in the robot-assisted surgery space.
“Our robot can see, reach, and work anywhere inside the abdomen, which effectively shrinks the surgeon and puts her/him inside the human body,” Vicarious Surgical co-founder and CEO Adam Sachs said in a news release touting the SPAC deal.
“Our system fits through a standard door, making it portable from operating room to operating room, and does not require a large footprint or facility construction build-out,” Sachs said. “With cost of goods that are significantly lower than competing products, we believe our robotic solution will offer a cost-effective path to improving patient outcomes and increasing the efficiency of surgical procedures for hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers.”
Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have become a hot investment mechanism in medtech and other industries as the U.S. emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession.
Former Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak, former Verb Surgical and Volcano Corp. CEO Scott Huenneken, and former iRhythm COO Karim Karti — among others — are each chairing their own SPACs as they look for attractive acquisition targets to take public.
Donald Tang, the co-founder and president of D8 Holdings, is a major private equity figure in Hong Kong. D8’s CEO is David Chu, who founded and built Nautica into a significant lifestyle brand between 1983 and 2003.
Tang said that the D8 Holdings team was excited about Vicarious Surgical’s technology and capabilities and the positive feedback from surgeons and hospitals.
“We consider Vicarious Surgical to be a thought leader in the surgical space, and we believe the market is ready for surgical robots that drive efficiency and improved quality of patient care,” Tang said. “We are excited to work with the Vicarious Surgical team on the next phase of commercialization for their products, bringing what we believe is much-needed innovation and choice to patients and practitioners, both in the U.S. and abroad.”
When it comes to BD’s investment, Vicarious Surgical’s technology complements the medtech giant’s hernia mesh products.
“BD’s investment in Vicarious Surgical is consistent with our innovation strategy to invest in promising new technologies that complement our existing portfolio and enter into attractive growth adjacencies. This investment is also consistent with key innovation themes, which include applying smart devices, robotics and analytics/artificial intelligence to improve care processes and lower cost in health care,” said BD spokesperson Troy Kirkpatrick in an email to MassDevice.