TransEnterix Acquires ALF-X for $99.8 Million

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Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based TransEnterix, Inc. announced today that it has acquired the surgical robotics division of SOFAR S.p.A., an Italian health care company. According to the announcement, the deal is a cash and stock transaction with a total consideration of $99.8 million.

According to its website, SOFAR manufactures medicines, nutraceuticals, and medical devices, specializing in therapeutic areas such as gastroenterology, gynecology, urology, and dermatology. SOFAR’s website notes that the company was founded in 1968 and currently has approximately 350 employees. According to its website, SOFAR invested heavily over the last twelve years in developing TELELAP ALF-X, an advanced robotic system for minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery., and that the TELELAP ALF-X system was granted CE certification in 2012.

According to TELELAP ALF-X promotional materials, the system has a surgical cockpit that allows open view of the operation theater.  Tool control is realized through laparoscopic-like input devices. The system also includes 3-D stereo vision with polarized glasses and incorporates a full eye-tracking system.  SOFAR recently announced that the TELELAP ALF-X system is being used for minimally-invasive gynecological procedures.

According to its website, TransEnterix is focused on the development and commercialization of its SugiBot System, a robotically-enhanced laparoscopic surgical platform that allows the surgeon to be patient-side within the sterile field. According to  TransEnterix President and CEO, Todd Pope:

We believe this combination accelerates our commercialization timeline and revenue ramp as we can immediately begin selling the ALF-X in many markets globally.

In its press release, TransEnterix emphasized the advantages of combining the SurgiBot and ALF-X systems.  According to TransEnterix, this acquisition will allow TransEnterix to accelerate the migration of traditional laparoscopy to robotically-assisted laparoscopy by eliminating cost barriers to adoption.  TransEnterix stated that a transition to robotically-assisted laparoscopy could potentially be quite positive for TransEnterix given that laparoscopic procedures represent over 10 times the number of existing robotic surgery procedures.

Michael Burns
Michael Burns is an associate in the firm's Orange County office. Dr. Burns' practice focuses on patent prosecution for mechanical, medical device, and life science clients. Prior to joining the firm, Dr. Burns did post-doctoral research on cardiovascular systems. At the University of Chicago, Dr. Burns was awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award to study how oxygen affects blood vessel growth in the lung. At the Ohio State University, Dr. Burns designed and built a flow system for studying how best to restore blood flow after someone has suffered a heart attack. Dr. Burns worked as a summer associate at the firm in 2013 and joined the firm in 2014.
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