Bionaut Labs grabs $43M funding for sending microrobots inside the human skull

tiny injectable robots

California-based nanorobot company Bionaut Labs, which uses microscale robots to revolutionise treating central nervous system (CNS) diseases and disorders, recently announced $43.2M in a Series B. The funding round was led by Menlo Park-based VC Khosla Ventures (that also backed Remio), bringing the company’s total financing raised to date to $63.2 million. 

Also participating in the round are new investors Deep Insight, OurCrowd, PSPRS, Sixty Degree Capital, Dolby Family Ventures, GISEV Family Ventures, What if Ventures, Tintah Grace and Gaingels, along with all existing investors – Upfront Ventures, BOLD Capital Partners, Revolution VC, and Compound.

Many brain and central nervous system diseases are hard to treat because it is difficult to deliver therapeutics beyond the blood-brain barrier and reach deep locations in the midbrain with precision. Through magnetic propulsion, Bionauts can navigate the depths of the human body to deliver drugs locally, generating efficacy and avoiding side effects and toxicity from systemically delivered drugs. By reaching the midbrain safely through novel routes, Bionaut Labs aims to develop solutions to treat the most debilitating conditions including Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, malignant glioma and hydrocephalus.

Funds will be used to advance clinical development of the company’s lead programs against malignant glioma brain tumors and Dandy-Walker Syndrome (a rare pediatric neurological disorder). Funds will also support further development of its proprietary Bionaut treatment platform, allowing future expansion of clinical targets and progression through Bionaut’s two accelerated FDA designations. Bionaut Labs will release major pre-clinical data packages from IDE and IND enabling studies in 2023, to initiate human clinical trials in 2024.

“There has been a dearth of innovation around treatments for conditions that cause tremendous suffering, in large part because past failures have discouraged even the best of researchers,” said Michael Shpigelmacher, co-founder and CEO, Bionaut Labs. “Bionaut Labs remains committed to finding new ways to treat these devastating diseases, which are long overdue for a breakthrough.”

Bionaut Labs was founded in 2017 by Israeli expats and robotics entrepreneurs Michael Shpigelmacher and Aviad Maizels, who previously co-founded PrimeSense, the company that developed the facial recognition tech behind iPhone’s FaceID (sold to Apple in 2013 for approximately $400M). Its leadership and medical team consists of experts across robotics, neuroscience, biology and drug development.

“We are extremely excited about the transformative potential Bionaut presents in treating debilitating neurological disorders,” said Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures. “Anatomically precise treatment will make traditionally-used methods seem archaic, and Bionaut is at the forefront of this movement.”

“Bionaut Labs tackles a complex pharmaceutical problem which many companies have failed to address in the past,” said Giammaria Giuliani, director of the GISEV Family Office. “As pioneers of micro-robotics for CNS treatment, the company enjoys a strong first-mover advantage and carries great promise.”

As neurodegeneration continues to grow in prevalence in the aging global population, Bionaut Labs offers unprecedented therapeutic access to the brain and other hard-to-reach locations in the body, diagnosing and treating diseases that were previously unreachable. Bionaut Labs will transform the way the biopharmaceutical industry develops treatments by offering a mechanism to engineer the therapeutic index for optimal efficacy and safety.

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