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The Founders’ Story


The story of Mazor Robotics begins at the Robotic Laboratory of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. The company was officially founded in 2001 by Professor Moshe Shoham and Mr. Eli Zehavi, but the work began years earlier with Professor Shoham, head of the Robotics Laboratory at Technion, conducting research to develop a new and innovative platform for surgery.

Eli Zehavi picture 2013In 2001, Mr. Zehavi left his position as Vice President of Engineering at Elscint (an Israeli technology company that developed and manufactured medical imaging solutions) to join Professor Shoham and establish Masor Surgical Technologies. The company later changed its name to Mazor Robotics in 2010. During 2001-2002, the company was based in the Technion campus’ incubator offices, Technion Technology Transfer, used to transition innovative technology to commercialization for global markets.

 

Professor Shoham and Mr. Zehavi wanted to develop a platform that is affixed directly to the patient’s bone for maximum stability and accuracy. It was decided they would focus on an application for spine surgery because of the need for great precision with instrumentation having a close proximity to delicate organs. In early 2004, Mazor Robotics received its first CE mark for the initial product, SpineAssist®. With this important milestone for the company, SpineAssist became the first commercially available mechanical guidance system for spine surgery. The company began marketing SpineAssist in Europe, registering its first sale soon afterward. Renaissance® Guidance System, Mazor’s next-generation system and current flagship product, was commercially released in 2011 after receiving FDA-clearance and CE-marking.

 

“Our goal is to clinically improve the outcome of spine and brain surgery to the patient’s benefit,” said Mr. Zehavi, Chief Operating Officer. “I see our company continuously leading the development of medical devices from diagnostic to surgical procedures to post-operative verification technologies.”

 

Moshe Shoham picture 2013Professor Shoham currently acts as the company’s Chief Technology Officer and continues to strive to make a major impact in the healthcare arena with what some have called “disruptive technology”.

 

“On one hand, it is difficult because introducing new technology means we need to educate the market and ultimately make considerable changes to the current operating workflow,” said Professor Shoham. “On the other hand, my vision is to bring real value to the patients and the company and that will take perseverance and hard work.”

 

In 2014, Prof. Shoham was elected into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for contributions to robotic technology for image-guided surgery, as well as awarded the Thomas A. Edison Patent Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).