Minister Andreu Mas-Colell visits Specipig

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November 06, 2014

Catalan Minister for the Economy and Knowledge Andreu Mas-Colell has visited Specipig, which is currently the only European company providing biomedical research services specialising in model pigs. Catalan spin-off Rob Surgical Systems has begun a validation study there on their Bitrack System surgical robot for minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.

This robot has been created to address the problems with current robotic laparoscopic surgery, like for example system flexibility and modularity and the set-up time. They have also developed a family of high-quality surgical instruments at a very competitive price. The robot is now in the validation stage and they expect to obtain CE marking in approximately 30 months.

“We’ve created a new surgical robot with top-notch specialists from Catalonia and the United States” explained Dr. Josep Amat, professor at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and head of robotics at the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre.

The Bitrack System prototype was tested under the medical supervision of Dr. Javier Magriña, surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and an expert on the Da Vinci robot (the only one on the market, from an American multinational) and the technical supervision of Dr. Amat.

“The prototype is finished in terms of technology and now we have to get it approved for the European and North-American markets,” explained Jaume Amat, CEO of Specipig and Rob Surgical Systems. “We’re facing a giant, so our business model contemplates licensing it to one of the large medical technology companies.”

Also present during the visit were M. Àngels Rial, president of Specific Pig and founder of Semen Cardona; Dr. Pere-Joan Cardona, board member and animal welfare manager; Dr. Oriol Puig, surgeon at Hospital Vall d'Hebron; and Dr. Alícia Casals, president of Rob Surgical Systems.

In addition to the new robot, the Minister also got a look at the Specipig pig-breeding facilities, analytical laboratory, operating room and expert team for toxicology studies and testing new drugs, validating medical devices, training surgeons and researching new surgical techniques.

Photo: Catalan Minister for the Economy and Knowledge Andreu Mas-Colell at installations of Specipig - © Specipig, Anna Mas