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7 Big Moments for Surgical Robotics in 2019

Here are seven key moments in 2019 that will shape the surgical robotics market for years to come.

  • One of the hottest markets in the medical device industry right now is surgical robotics. The space, valued at $56.3 million in 2017, is expected to grow to $98,737 million by 2024 with a CAGR of 8.5% during the forecast, according to a report from Allied Market Research. Growth is happening now and 2019 has been a breakout year for surgical robotics – from product unveilings to delays. MD+DI is counting down the Top 7 developments for Surgical Robotics in 2019.

  • The Art of Negotiation

    For years Intuitive Surgical has been at the top of the surgical robotics market – having gained a nod from FDA for the da Vinci Robot in 2000. (Whew that’s a lot of lead time.) However, competitors are on the horizon. Executives from the Sunnyvale, CA-based company said it is likely the firm will see increased price negotiations and elongated negotiation timelines as competition gets closer to launching new products. The company said these dynamics could also result in profit fluctuations. This could be a plus for some hospitals and healthcare centers that have had issues with the da Vinci’s pricing.

  • CMR’s Two Big Wins

    Cambridge, UK-based CMR has had a good year. In September, the company raised $243 million (wow!) in a Series C round to commercialize its Versius robot-assisted surgery device. And then last month the company completed the sale of its first unit to the Galaxy Care Hospital in Pune, India. CMR was founded 5 years ago and has publicly stated in media outlets that it hopes to have a nod from FDA next year.

  • Verb’s New Leadership

    Verb is a joint venture between Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Unit and Verily Life Sciences. The collaboration happened during the time when Verily (the former life sciences unit of Google) was partnering with numerous companies in the medtech and pharmaceutical space. While Verb made a big splash when it was first formed, the company has been fairly quiet in 2019. However, in June Verb once again made headlines when it announced Kurt Azarbarzin would be its new president and CEO. Azarbarzin was the former CEO of SurgiQuest, until it was acquired by Conmed for $265 million in 2015. Azarbarzin is a big name and succeeds former Verb CEO Scott Huennekens, who left the company at the end of last year.

  • When Titan Hit Pause

    Titan Medical hit a huge roadblock with the Sport robotic surgical system and announced in mid-October that it was withdrawing all forecasts with respect to the cost and timing of the platform. The Toronto-based company said a lack of financing was the reason behind the delay. Titan isn’t letting this stop it, however. The company is seeking to raise $25 million in an offering that could help get the Sport’s system back on track.

  • XACT Brings Home OK from FDA

    XACT Robotics secured a coveted FDA nod for its robotic system. The device was cleared for use during CT-guided percutaneous interventional procedures. The wow factor behind the Caesarea, Isreal-based company’s robot is that it is the first hands-free robotic system combining image-based planning and navigation with the insertion and steering of various instruments across an array of clinical applications and indications.

  • Johnson & Johnson’s Glow Up in Surgical Robotics

    Johnson & Johnson pulled off one of the largest acquisitions in medtech this year with Auris Health. The deal called for it to acquire Redwood City, CA-based Auris for $3.4 billion-plus additional contingent payments of up to $2.35 billion in the event of reaching certain milestones. Auris Health develops robotic technologies that have been focused on lung cancer and has developed the Monarch Platform, an FDA-cleared system currently used in bronchoscopic diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. As a result of the merger surgical robotics pioneer Frederic Moll, M.D., CEO and Founder of Auris Health, joined J&J. Moll is also known for cofounding Intuitive Surgical. With this acquisition and J&J’s Verb the company now has multiple shots on goal in the world of surgical robotics.


  • Medtronic’s Done Dropping Hints

    Medtronic teased us all year long with tidbits and hints about its upcoming soft-tissue surgical robotics system. After some delays in 2018 with scant details about the platform, the Dublin-based company opened up a bit in June with the announcement of a collaboration with Karl Storz. The firm said its upcoming robotic-assisted surgical platform would incorporate Karl Storz’s 3D vision systems and visualization components. To boot the two companies had been working on this for about four years (Wow!) and this is the first time (Double wow!) the duo made the collaboration public. Medtronic then began building up the anticipation when it announced in August it would unveil the robot during an investor’s meeting in September. And that it did. After a lengthy demonstration, Medtronic said it anticipates submitting for CE mark in the Q1 of the company's fiscal year 2021 (Medtronic's fiscal year begins in April), and filing for a U.S. investigational device exemption to begin placing systems in U.S. hospitals, training surgeons, and gathering clinical data in the first half of its fiscal year 2021. If all goes as planned, the system could be available both in Europe and in the U.S. within the next 24 months.

    Amanda Pedersen, MDDI News Editor
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