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Medical tech firm Brainlab acquires Level Ex surgery game startup

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Medical technology company Brainlab has acquired video game surgery training company Level Ex, whose games are being used to train doctors how to treat COVID-19 and other emergencies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The outcome is a good one for Level Ex, which makes mobile games that the company said are being used by more than 600,000 medical professionals. Chicago-based Level Ex has 100 employees, while Munich-based Brainlab has 1,400.

CEO Sam Glassenberg said in an interview with GamesBeat that his company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and continue to hire people in the U.S.

“This is the first major acquisition of a video game studio by a major international healthcare company,” said Glassenberg. “So the impact of games in healthcare is no longer theoretical.”

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The acquisition represents an expansion of the Brainlab business, which focuses on providing digital technology for medical professionals such as neurosurgeons.

Above: Sam Glassenberg is CEO and founder of Level Ex.

Image Credit: Level Ex

Founded by Glassenberg in 2015, Level Ex uses video game veterans on its staff to create medical video games designed to advance the clinical skills of physicians and surgeons. The Level Ex technology is aimed at using modern mobile gaming tech — such as iPad touchscreens — to make it easier to learn complex medical procedures.”We use our game mechanics to help doctors understand how to do their procedures,” Glassenberg said. “We have been at this for almost five years, and it is the right time to do this deal.”

Glassenberg said his company’s expertise and product portfolio align with the broader Brainlab strategy to drive value creation across the healthcare data economy. Brainlab believes that there is an urgency to deliver agile and scalable solutions in the immersive, virtual and mobile space to help medical professionals do their jobs better.

An example of Brainlab’s business is providing a digital network to provide everything that brain surgeons need to be able to process and analyze data coming in from various machines being used in a surgery room. The digital network helps support education, training, clinical decisions, and connections with third-party devices.

“If you were a neurosurgeon, you would know about Brainlab and its cutting edge technology,” Glassenberg said. “The larger problem with medical technology is that it’s decades behind in some ways.”

The company is already integrating Level Ex technology across vertical and horizontal products with the Brainlab 3D Viewer software — which is like an operating system for surgery — and a virtual sales tool for the company’s ExacTrac X-Ray patient position and monitoring system.

Above: Level Ex teaches doctors and other medical professionals how to do surgery.

Image Credit: Level Ex

Level Ex creates simulation software that shows doctors how to do certain procedures or diagnose whether someone has an ailment like COVID-19.

Level Ex’s customers already include six of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies, as well as global medical device companies, and medical societies. It is also set to release new games in the areas of dermatology, orthopedics, and oncology over the next year. Its existing games focus on interventional cardiology and airway management.

Glassenberg said he met members of the Brainlab team a couple of years ago.

“We saw exciting things we could do together,” Glassenberg said. “We can use our video game tech to improve their graphics nad we can learn how their technology works.”



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