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December 10, 2021

Tim Murawski and Augmedics - An Incredible Story of Innovation in MedTech

Over the past hundred years, healthcare and medical technology have made incredible leaps. And while illness and injury haven’t completely been eradicated from the human experience, it’s becoming easier than ever for doctors and surgeons to successfully prevent and treat conditions when they do arise. One particular area that’s seen wild advancements is robot-assisted medical technology. Leaders in this space are pushing the envelope of what’s possible forward in exciting ways, bringing new innovations that redefine the patient experience. One leader in particular, Tim Murawski, is making it possible for patients to experience better spinal operations with the help of augmented reality.

Here we’ll explore the story of how Augmedics is cementing its legacy in MedTech, and the efforts Tim Murawski is taking to bring the company to new heights.

Tim Murawski and the Augmedics story

With over 20 years of experience in medical technology, Tim Murawski has had ample time to perfect his leadership strategy. In 2019, he joined Augmedics as President and CCO. Built on the promise of delivering a better future for spinal operations, the Augmedics team has spent several years developing and perfecting its flagship technology. However, in the middle of a financing round in March of 2020, the pandemic forced the round to a halt. Rather than letting the pandemic force the company into stagnation, Mr. Murawski turned to his team. Recognizing the outsized potential this disruptive technology could have in the healthcare space, he helped lead an internal funding drive to ensure the company could move forward. A

As he explained, “this [was] an opportunity to invest in the company itself - to provide the cash available that was needed to run operations, continue to get us up off the ground; and make sure there was money available for R&D. The entire team in the U.S. rose to the occasion and said, ‘absolutely we want to do this.’”

In a truly unprecedented move, the Augmedics team created their own LLC, Aug Management, and were able to raise $5 million of a $15 million Series B round. Later in Q1 of 2021, the company completed an oversubscribed Series C financing round, bringing in $36 million with the help of an international syndicate of Israel-US investors. After a successful launch of the xvision spinal system in late 2020, the Series C funding was just what the company needed to ensure a bright future for the product and team.

Here’s how the xvision system is making spinal surgery easier for both surgeons and patients alike.

How Augmedics is using augmented reality

The first-ever FDA-approved augmented reality guidance system for surgery, the xvision replaces traditional navigational systems often used in the OR. These traditional systems offer surgeons critical patient information but at the cost of having to constantly look away from the patient to a separate screen. The xvision completely gets rid of that constant back-and-forth by combining a custom-fit headset with an augmented reality display.

Augmented reality (AR) is an emerging technology that allows digital information to be overlaid onto reality. A great example is the popular IKEA app, which allows people to see what certain pieces of furniture would look like in their homes through their phone’s camera. In the case of the xvision, a near-eye display on the headset allows doctors to “see” through a patient’s tissue and skin - almost like real-life x-ray vision. Instead of having to switch their focus between the patient and a screen, those performing operations can see the exact location of their istruments, along with any implants and other information through their own eyes.

Dr. James Lynch of Renown Regional Medical Center was the first US private practice surgeon to use the technology. As he explained in an interview, “The xvision is augmented reality for spine care and an important step forward in improving outcomes for spine surgery – it allows surgeons to view a 3D image of the CT scan on the retina without looking at a remote screen. It has all the advantages of a neuronavigation platform, yet it’s more cost-effective for hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, especially in this current climate”.

In addition to creating more surgeon-friendly technology, the xvision can help drastically improve patient outcomes. Dr. Lynch continues, “Other benefits of the xvision Spine System include accuracy and efficiency in placing minimally invasive surgical instrumentation and decreased radiation exposure for surgeons and OR staff from traditional fluoroscopy-based procedures.”

The future of healthcare technology

After a rocky but ultimately successful launch, Augmedics is going from strength to strength. Recently, the company was announced as a finalist for the 2021 Index Awards, a competition highlighting designs that improve people’s lives. Cementing the xvision further as a game-changer, the company was also recognized in FastCompany’s 2021 World-Changing Ideas. But achieving worldwide acclaim isn’t the ultimate goal for Tim Murawski and the Augmedics team. From day one, the passion and drive have been centered around better serving surgeons and the patients they treat.

In the near future, the company hopes to expand xvision’s capabilities. Potential new applications could go beyond spinal operations to encompass a number of procedures around the body - all supported by augmented reality

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