TransEnterix ready to move forward

Surgical system maker has new space, approvals

Staff WriterJanuary 19, 2010 

TransEnterix is poised to begin selling its first products after obtaining all of the necessary regulatory approvals for its new surgical system and finding new space to assemble them.

The rapidly expanding company has leased 37,000 square feet of space at 635 Davis Drive in Morrisville's Keystone Technology Park. It expects to move in the second quarter.

That's more than triple the company's current space, which is divided between two Durham locations, CEO Todd M. Pope said. But the additional space is needed by a company that has added about 20 employees since October - it has 50 today - and expects to add 30 more by the end of this year.

"For us, it's the ideal size," Pope said of the new space.

The expansion of the company, which was founded in 2006, is being fueled by the $55 million it raised in October - one of last year's largest venture capital hauls by a Triangle company.

TransEnterix also recently received the last of the approvals that it needed from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the suite of products that make up its SPIDER Surgical System.

The company expects to begin selling the SPIDER system in the spring but hasn't announced prices.

The company is starting to assemble a sales force that will sell the system to hospitals but hasn't determined how large it will be, Pope said.

SPIDER is a system for laparoscopic procedures, or minimally invasive surgeries, that the company says will enable faster recovery time and less pain for patients. That will be accomplished by flexible instruments and the use of a single incision in the navel, rather than several incisions. The SPIDER system is the brainchild of Dr. Richard Stac of Duke University.

About 2.5 million laparoscopic procedures are performed annually in the United States.

"We think we can have a big impact," Pope said.

Garheng Kong of Intersouth Partners, a Durham venture capital firm that has invested in TransEnterix, said the SPIDER system may even enable surgeons to use laparoscopy for surgeries that today require more invasive procedures. Kong is on TransEnterix's board of directors.

"We think it's a huge opportunity," he said.

david.ranii@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4877

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