Devices & Diagnostics, Startups

Peter Thiel-backed Auris Surgical Robotics raises $150M

Auris Surgical Robotics just raised an impressive $150 million Series B, ostensibly to develop its eye surgery robot. The company’s been backed by the Peter Thiel venture firm Mithril Capital Management.

Stealth Bay Area startup Auris Surgical Robotics has just raised an astounding $150 million in equity, according to a regulatory filing. The company’s got an all-star list of investors – including Lux Capital, NaviMed Capital and the Peter Thiel-backed Mithril Capital Management.

The company’s remained quiet about its activities. But it did announce in 2013 that it’s developing a microsurgical robot for eye surgery, particularly cataract removal.

A representative for Auris said Wednesday the company’s deep in stealth mode and will not comment about the funding, or how it will be used.

Just last year, Auris raised a substantial Series A round of $34 million from some 20 backers, including Highland Capital Partners, Lux Capital and Mithril Capital Management.

Here are some of the names behind Auris, as listed on the filing:

  • David Styka, former CFO for Family Dollar, is now listed as CFO of 3D Systems Corporation, a South Carolina 3D printing and prototyping company.
  • Ajay Royan, who cofounded investment firm Mithril with Thiel.
  • Frederic Moll, the founder and first CEO of Intuitive Surgical, maker of the widely known da Vinci robot. He also founded or worked with three other robotic surgery companies – Hansen Medical, Mako Surgical and Restoration Robotics. He’s now CEO of Auris.
  • Peter Hébert, cofounder of Lux Capital.
  • Bijan Salehizadeh, managing director of NaviMed Capital.

“We evaluated a variety of advanced cutting technologies for use in our robotic cataract-removal system,” Moll said in the 2013 statement. “For cutting precision, system compatibility, and lack of tissue trauma, we found significant advantages in using BIOLASE’s Waterlase technology. We anticipate that our system will have major advantages over traditional phacoemulsification and should create a new standard for safety, speed, and effectiveness in cataract removal.”

At the time, it said it had teamed up with Orange County dental and pain reduction laser manufacturer Biolase.

Photo: Flickr user Andrew M. Butler