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BackTable / ENT / Podcast / Episode #84

Your Implant Robot: The Future of Robotic Assisted Surgery

with iotaMotion Founders Dr. Marlan Hansen and Dr. Christopher Kaufmann

In this crossover episode of BackTable, Dr. Eric Gantwerker interviews Dr. Chris Kaufmann and Dr. Marlan Hansen from the University of Iowa about their startup company, iotaMotion, which has developed the first FDA-approved robotic cochlear implant insertion system.

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Your Implant Robot: The Future of Robotic Assisted Surgery with iotaMotion Founders Dr. Marlan Hansen and Dr. Christopher Kaufmann on the BackTable ENT Podcast)
Ep 84 Your Implant Robot: The Future of Robotic Assisted Surgery with iotaMotion Founders Dr. Marlan Hansen and Dr. Christopher Kaufmann
00:00 / 01:04

BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2023, January 10). Ep. 84 – Your Implant Robot: The Future of Robotic Assisted Surgery [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.backtable.com

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Podcast Contributors

Dr. Marlan Hansen discusses Your Implant Robot: The Future of Robotic Assisted Surgery on the BackTable 84 Podcast

Dr. Marlan Hansen

Dr. Marlan Hanen is a clinician-scientist trained in neurotology/skull base surgery and cell and molecular biology. He is a Department Chair of Otolaryngology and a Professor of Neurosurgery and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Christopher Kaufmann discusses Your Implant Robot: The Future of Robotic Assisted Surgery on the BackTable 84 Podcast

Dr. Christopher Kaufmann

Dr. Christopher Kaufmann was an Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery resident and NIH research fellow at the University of Iowa prior to leaving surgical training to join iotaMotion full time to lead product portfolio strategy and technology development.

Dr. Eric Gantwerker discusses Your Implant Robot: The Future of Robotic Assisted Surgery on the BackTable 84 Podcast

Dr. Eric Gantwerker

Eric Gantwerker is a Pediatric Otolaryngologist at Cohen Children's Hospital at Northwell Health/Hofstra, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, and Vice President, Medical Director at Level Ex.

Synopsis

First, Dr. Kaufmann and Dr. Hansen speak about their backgrounds and interests in entrepreneurship and engineering along with their medical focus. As otolaryngologists, both wanted to find a way to improve cochlear implant insertion in order to preserve cochlea function and structure. Their device, iotaSOFT, robotically assists surgeons during implantation and minimizes the risk of advancing the implant too far within the cochlea. They emphasize that this is a tool to assist surgeons, not change the technique with which they operate. They also note that their primary motivation was to help patients, so they were more concerned about safety and effectiveness rather than market competition and monetization.

Then, they speak about the development path of their product and start up company. They filed for intellectual property rights under the University of Iowa and then formed a startup company that licensed the technology in order to commercialize the device. They discuss how they slowly added more employees and consultants to their company and set phases and goals for hiring and fundraising. Next, they explain challenges they had to overcome, such as the FDA approval process and COVID-19 setbacks on their clinical studies. They noted that iotaSOFT has received support from many surgeons once they understood that the robotic system merely assisted their surgeries without taking any control away from them.

Finally, they discuss future plans for iotaSOFT such as integrating it with other devices and developing it further to be able to reside in the cochlea with the implant.

Transcript Preview

[Dr. Chris Kaufmann]
I think just as clinicians and surgeons with that mindset, you're wanting the best for your patients. You're wanting to improve outcomes and improve healthcare. I think we did look at those factors, obviously the cochlear implant industry is a multi-billion dollar market, so that checks that box. If you look at the low penetration rate of 5%, if you look at the missed revenue opportunities, if you increase the penetration rate by 1% or 2%, that equates a multi-billion dollar missed revenue opportunity.

I think almost it's an orphan drug mentality of there's an opportunity here, but we're overall from, even a public health perspective missing it both on the public health side as well as the commercial side as well.

Disclaimer: The Materials available on BackTable.com are for informational and educational purposes only and are not a substitute for the professional judgment of a healthcare professional in diagnosing and treating patients. The opinions expressed by participants of the BackTable Podcast belong solely to the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of BackTable.

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Articles

The iotaMotion Story: Improving Cochlear Implant Surgery

The iotaMotion Story: Improving Cochlear Implant Surgery

Robot-Assisted Cochlear Implant Surgery

Robot-Assisted Cochlear Implant Surgery

Topics

Cochlear Implantation Procedure Prep
Hearing Loss Condition Overview
Learn about Neurotology on BackTable ENT

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