Transenterix was once touted as a competitor to the robotic surgery giant Intuitive Surgical. But over three years after the former’s Senhance system was cleared in the US, it is still a case of David versus Goliath in terms of sales. Yesterday Transenterix, now known as Asensus Surgical, finally got a boost in the form of expanded FDA clearance for Senhance to encompass general surgery – the system was previously only indicated for colorectal and gynaecologic laparoscopic surgery. And the group now has enough cash to make a go of selling the product: after ending 2020 with just $17.5m, a recent $80m fundraising should keep it going until 2024. By then it might have become clear whether the advantages claimed by Asensus hold any weight with customers: the company says that Senhance uses machine learning to improve outcomes, and is the only system to offer instruments as small as 3mm. The robotic surgery space is getting crowded, however, with Medtronic set to enter the fray this year. For now, only Senhance and Intuitive’s Da Vinci devices are authorised in the US, so Asensus will have to make the most of its window of opportunity.