J&J Sheds Light on Plans for Surgical Robot

Roughly two years ago, Johnson & Johnson delayed plans for its Ottava Surgical Robot. Now the company is ready to push forward with the technology.

Omar Ford

November 13, 2023

2 Min Read
Image Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson along with Medtronic were poised to be serious competitors to Intuitive Surgical in the surgical robotics space.

But a delay around the same time Medtronic announced winning a CE Mark for its Hugo Robotic-Assisted Surgery platform derailed New Brunswick, NJ-based J&J’s plan to get its Ottava platform onto the market.

Now J&J is providing an update regarding Ottava. Last week the company said it has plans to submit an IDE application to FDA for the second half of 2024 to initiate clinical trials.

The company’s Ottava technology incorporates four robotic arms into a standard-size surgical table. J&J said this unified architecture allows for an invisible design, with the robotic arms available when needed or stowed under the surgical table when not. The design removes barriers to movement and collaboration in robotic operating rooms, according to the company.

The system’s “twin motion” feature – the unified movement of the table and the robotic arms – is designed to allow surgical teams to address important clinical needs during surgery, such as the ability to reposition a patient without interrupting the procedure.

“Today, the majority of operating rooms (OR) are not robotic because they were not built with a robot in mind,” said Dr. Eduardo Parra-Davila, a Colorectal and General Surgeon at the Palm Beach Digital Institute. “The industry needs a system that is adaptable, easy to use in any OR in the world, and maintains space in the OR. As surgeons, we need space to improve the workflow in the OR, increase safety, and enable 360-degree patient access so we can perform at the capacity that we would like to. That’s where Ottava comes in. Ottava offers a unique design that incorporates into any OR and allows surgeons to do what they would like to do and know how to do, which is focus on the patient.”

The State of Surgical Robotics

Intuitive has been relatively unchallenged in the laparoscopy space for surgical robotics since it received a nod from FDA for the da Vinci in 2000. And although Dublin-based Medtronic has CE mark for Hugo it hasn’t yet secured approval from FDA.

Nearly a year ago, Medtronic announced it was enrolling patients in a clinical trial of Hugo. Medtronic had previously delayed the program to make changes because of physician feedback.

J&J made a significant push into the surgical robotics space in 2019. First, the company made plans to acquire Auris Health for $3.4 billion. Auris has the Monarch Platform, an FDA-cleared system used in bronchoscopic diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

J&J closed out 2019 by acquiring the remaining stake in Verb Surgical, a robotics joint venture it held with Verily Life Sciences.

About the Author(s)

Omar Ford

Omar Ford is MD+DI's Editor-in-Chief. You can reach him at [email protected].


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