Medical tech firm Brainlab acquires Level Ex surgery game startup

Medical tech firm Brainlab acquires Level Ex surgery game startup

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


The outcome is a good one for Chicago-based Level Ex, which makes mobile games the company said are being used by more than 600,000 medical professionals. Level Ex has 100 employees, and 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 health care company,” said Glassenberg. “So the impact of games in health care is no longer theoretical.”


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


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Sam Glassenberg is CEO of Level Ex.

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 technology taps modern mobile gaming tech — like 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.”


“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.”


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


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 complete certain procedures or diagnose whether someone has a condition 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, and we can learn how their technology works.”