Fannin Innovation Studio, an early-stage life science commercialization firm, and the University of Houston have formed a startup company around the college’s robotic arm technology, which enables interventions using real-time MRI guidance.
GuidaBot is developing a robotic, four-degree-of-freedom manipulator designed to work within the powerful magnetic field of an MRI, allowing physicians to perform interventions using real-time MRI imaging for absolute precision.
Unlike complex pneumatic or hydraulic control systems, GuidaBot uses solid-media transmission (SMT), a fundamentally new way of transmitting force. GuidaBot’s SMT hardware, proprietary software components and low profile allow patients to remain in place within the MRI machine allowing for faster and more precise biopsy procedures. Currently, MRI-guided biopsy procedures call for the patient to be removed from the machine before placement of the needles can be made, increasing procedure time and costs.
“The company will initially focus on medical applications to treat several conditions, but interest from the energy industry has helped identify additional opportunities,” said Fannin managing partner Atul Varadhachary, M.D., Ph.D.
The technology was invented by University of Houston robotics expert and Dr. Nikolaos V. Tsekos, director of the medical robotics laboratory. Backed by a $1.4 million National Science Foundation grant, research for the robotic system has been conducted in partnership with Houston Methodist hospital system.
Fannin Innovation Studio
University of Houston