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Can Intuitive Surgical Continue to Rise Above COVID-19 Disruptions?

The robotic surgery pioneer beat Wall Street estimates and saw an increase in revenue before COVID-19 cases began to rise in the United States.

Omar Ford

April 17, 2020

2 Min Read
Can Intuitive Surgical Continue to Rise Above COVID-19 Disruptions?
Image from Adobe Stock

Intuitive Surgical beat analysts’ estimates and revenue rose about 13% for 1Q20, however, the robotic surgery company said the rest of 2020 is in question because of COVID-19.

The Sunnyvale, CA-based company said procedures with its da Vinci robot were trending at the higher end of expectations during the first two and half months of 1Q20. But the robotic surgery pioneer’s story changed sharply in the latter half of March.

The company said it experienced a decline in procedure volume as healthcare systems in the U.S. and Western Europe diverted resources to meet the increasing demands of managing COVID-19.

Here’s how the numbers play out.

The company said 1Q20 revenue of $1.1 billion grew 13% compared with $974 million in the 1Q19. Worldwide da Vinci procedures grew approximately 10% compared with the first quarter of 2019, driven primarily by growth in U.S. general surgery procedures and worldwide urologic procedures.

“In response to COVID-19, Intuitive's priorities are the health and safety of those we serve, including care teams, their patients, our employees, our communities, and our suppliers," Intuitive CEO Gary Guthart, said in a release. “While we cannot predict the depth or duration of the disruption caused by the pandemic, we remain committed to our mission and the long-term need to improve patient outcomes.”

The impact of COVID-19 on medtech companies varies. While Abbott Laboratories is surging because of various diagnostic options for the virus, companies that specialize in elective procedures have been hit extremely hard.

Conformis, a company known for its custom orthopedic implants, announced in March it was going to furlough one-third of its workforce. The Billerica, MA-based company said its product areas of knee and hip surgery were being impacted in ‘unprecedented ways.’

Obalon Therapeutics said it would explore financial and strategic alternatives because of the impact of COVID-19 on elective procedures. The weight loss solutions company said that these alternatives could include equity or debt financing; a sale of the company; a business combination; or a merger or a reverse merger with another party.

And late last month, Second Sight Medical Products announced it was winding down operations and laying off 84 of its 108 employees. The Sylmar, CA-based company had developed a cortical stimulation device intended to provide useful artificial vision to individuals who are blind due to a wide range of causes.

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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