1. Competition heats up in the robot-assisted surgery spaceMedtronic (NYSE:MDT) this year unveiled its much-awaited Hugo RAS system, which the world’s largest medical device company touts as more flexible and cost-effective than systems presently on the market. Medtronic’s goal is to achieve U.S. 510(k) clearance in roughly two years.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), meanwhile, announced that it was purchasing the remaining stake in Verb Surgical — following what J&J described as a successful strategic collaboration with the Alphabet (NSDQ:GOOGL) life sciences unit Verily. J&J’s Ethicon subsidiary in February inked a $3.4 billion deal to pick up surgical robotics pioneer Dr. Fred Moll’s newest robotic surgical play, Auris Health, and its FDA-cleared Monarch platform.
Meanwhile, the dominant player in the soft tissue robotic surgery space — Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) — isn’t resting on its laurels. Its da Vinci SP robot for single-port surgery has a tube that is about an inch wide and delivers fully articulating instruments: three that can manipulate things and one that’s a steerable endoscope. The robot is in the process of launching in the United States.