Intuitive Surgical: Cutting prices to boost its leadIntuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) — the world’s dominant robotic surgery company — has found itself in the same boat as many medical device companies making equipment not directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic: Sales took a hit, with overall revenue down 2.7% in 2020.
Intuitive reports that da Vinci procedures in the U.S. have recovered significantly, but the new wave of the pandemic that hit before the start of 2021 was expected to continue impacting procedure volumes
The pandemic, though, may have also given Intuitive Surgical extra time to make an economic proposition for potential customers before medtech giants Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson each come out with their own robots to compete against Intuitive’s da Vinci robots.
Intuitive Surgical launched an “Extended Use Program,” offering select Xi/X instruments possessing 12 to 18 uses compared to the current 10-use instruments. The company also lowered the price of certain other instruments most commonly used in lower-acuity procedures.
“If you look out over a couple of years, we clearly think that customers want to use our products. … To the extent that we can help them with economics, we think they have a preference to use our products,” Intuitive CEO Gary Guthart said in a July 2020 earnings call transcribed by Seeking Alpha.
Meanwhile, Intuitive Surgical continues to seek expanded indications for its next-gen da Vinci SP robot.
The company put forward a strong end to 2020 as well, launching a $100 million venture capital fund to support independent initiatives in the direct and adjacent fields of minimally invasive care. It was also one of the best-performing medtech stocks over the course of the year, rising 38%.