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The robotic surgery powerhouse enters a joint venture with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical to offer robotic-assisted catheter-based devices for diagnosing and treating lung cancer.

Marie Thibault

October 3, 2016

2 Min Read
Intuitive Surgical Teams with Chinese Company on Lung Cancer

Intuitive Surgical is expanding into robotic-assisted catheter-based medical devices through a joint venture with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical. At the outset, these devices, which will use proprietary intellectual property from Intuitive Surgical, will be focused on diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. 

Intuitive Surgical has had a relationship with Fosun Pharma in the past, as Fosun subsidiary Chindex Medical Limited is a Chines distribution partner for Intutive's da Vinci Surgical Systems.The two companies will put up to $100 million into the joint venture, which will be registered in Shanghai, according to a news release. Research and development and manufacturing will also take place in Shanghai. Intuitive Surgical will oversee distribution of any devices outside of China while the joint venture will be in charge of distribution within China.

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"We are excited to deepen our partnership with Fosun Pharma focused on delivering innovative healthcare solutions in  China and around the world," Dr. Gary Guthart, president and CEO of Intuitive Surgical, said in the release. "We are proud to make this important long-term commitment to China."  

Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci systems are sold into public hospitals and military hospitals in China. The company reported four systems sold in China in the second quarter, all to military hospitals. System sales to public hospitals in the country are determined by government quotas while military hospitals sales are conducted outside of this process.

"We are pleased to expand our partnership and advance the development of medical tools to enhance the wellbeing of global populations, including those in China that suffer from increased rates of lung cancer," Fosun Pharma chairman Chen Qiyu said. "The cooperation will boost the development of Fosun Pharma's medical device sector by integrating branding concept, matching resources and leveraging complementary advantages with Intuitive Surgical, so as to bring better medical tools for doctors."

The joint venture is an example of what one healthcare markets expert sees as a growing trend in medtech--more non-acquisitive collaborations. Dimitri Drone, partner, Global Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Leader in PwC's Deals Practice, previously told MD+DI that he expects medical device companies and other life sciences firms to take on new partnerships and agreements. 

"I'm seeing a lot of time and effort and energy going behind conversations with providers, academic medical centers, and organizations that you want to partner with, you want to do something with, but you're not going to buy them," Drone said at the time.

[Image courtesy of STUART MILES/FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET]

About the Author(s)

Marie Thibault

Marie Thibault is the managing editor for Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry and Qmed. Reach her at [email protected] and on Twitter @MedTechMarie.

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