International technology company Sagentia has been the prime development partner behind Prosurgics’ FreeHand* – an award winning medical device which allows affordable assistance for minimally invasive surgery.
Since its launch in Stockholm earlier this year, Prosurgics’ FreeHand robotic camera holder has attracted great interest from surgeons worldwide and has been recognised by the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons in the USA as a “2008 Innovation of the Year”. The award was made at the Society’s 17th Annual Meeting and Endo Expo 2008 in Chicago, Illinois, 17 September 2008.
FreeHand is Prosurgics’ second generation robotic camera holder and replaces the company’s previous product EndoAssist. In conjunction with Sagentia, a world leading product development, technology consulting and IP exploitation company headquartered in Cambridge, UK, Prosurgics has built on the successful functionality of EndoAssist and developed a product that is more compact, easier to set up and use, and substantially more affordable than its predecessor.
Sagentia’s input to this successful outcome has been considerable: the company was appointed key development partner by Prosurgics in October 2007, with a brief to take an existing second-generation prototype and ensure that stringent specification requirements for performance, safety, size and ergonomics were all met.
FreeHand is the first product on the market to bring affordable robotic assistance in minimally invasive abdominal surgery. Colin Robertson, Global Marketing Director of Prosurgics, said: “Extensive international market research has indicated that many surgeons are struggling increasingly to find dependable assistants to hold the camera during laparoscopic (key-hole) procedures. And even when quality assistance is available, long procedures can be tiring, leading to camera shake, poor visualisation, and even longer cases.”
FreeHand has addressed and overcome these problems. Taking only moments to attach to the side of the operating table, the unit is controlled by the surgeon using gentle natural head movements, leaving the surgeon’s hands free for instruments. Benefits to the surgeon include optimal visualisation, and improved control over a critical aspect of the procedure. These benefits in turn convert into reduced procedure times and more efficient use of hospital resources.
The launch of FreeHand at the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery (EAES) in Stockholm this year prompted Mr Philippe Grange, Consultant Urological Surgeon at London’s King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, to comment: "FreeHand provides a completely steady picture which helps speed precise procedures, such as delicate suturing. It also means that assistant surgeons can be used to their full potential. Additionally, how the surgery progresses is no longer dependant on the ability of an assistant surgeon to hold a camera steady for protracted periods."
Sagentia has a long track record in medical device product design and development. Ian Anderson, Head of Product Development at Sagentia, said: “It was clear early on that Prosurgics’ ambitious timetable would only be met if Sagentia was to become deeply involved in the product development programme, including the management and co-ordination of Prosurgics’ other partners. We were able to quickly assemble a team comprising mechanical, electronics and software engineers and work commenced in October 2007 with working prototypes successfully developed by April 2008. For a medical device, this was extremely rapid and the fastest we have completed at Sagentia.”
Commenting on the successful outcome of the product development programme, Paul Moraviec, Prosurgics’ CEO, said: “Sagentia’s product development and project management skills have enabled us to leverage our IP and know-how in the most effective manner. The reduction in risk and faster time-to-market is critical for a company with the ambition of Prosurgics.”
*(Note: FreeHand is not currently cleared by the FDA for distribution in the United States and so is limited to Investigational Use.)
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Interim Head of Communications, Sagentia
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 875 535
MarComms & PR Coordinator, Sagentia
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 875 585
Marketing and Business Development Director, Prosurgics
Tel: +44 (0) 1628 648788
Notes for Editors:
Sagentia is a leading international technology consulting and IP licensing organisation with a reputation for successfully commercialising emerging science and technology. Sagentia creates, develops and delivers business opportunities, products and services for its clients.
Established in 1986, Sagentia operates in six global market sectors – medical, industrial products, consumer products, chemicals, materials & energy, telecoms & media and public sector - developing new technologies, products and services that change the basis of competition. The company also assists business leaders to create strategies for technology, innovation and growth.
Sagentia has more than 200 employees and has resources situated in state-of-the-art facilities in Europe, the USA, and China. Sagentia is listed on AIM (SAG.L), the growth market of the London Stock Exchange.
Prosurgics is dedicated to pioneering a new generation of innovative but affordable surgical robots. Its range of robotic solutions helps improve patient outcomes and healthcare economics in hospitals around the world. The company’s technology portfolio encompasses image guided and tele-manipulator systems, surgical planning and intra-operative navigation.
With offices in the UK (High Wycombe), USA (Cupertino, CA) and Germany (Berlin) and a global network of expert distributors, Prosurgics delivers innovative and effective solutions for today’s surgeons and hospitals around the world.
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