New Deal Makes ‘Boiling’ Surgical Robotics Market Even Hotter

Karl Storz is pushing to acquire Asensus Surgical. The acquisition comes on the heels of many market-defining moments in the space.

Omar Ford

June 7, 2024

3 Min Read
The Senhance Surgical Robotic SystemImage courtesy of Asensus Surgical

At a Glance

  • The acquisition is set to close in 3Q24.
  • The acquisition, which offers 35 cents per share in cash, represents a significant premium to Asensus' closing stock prices.
  • Recent developments include Sony's prototype unveiling and the latest version of the da Vinci winning a nod from FDA.

It’s official. Karl Storz is planning to acquire Asensus Surgical, a specialist in digital solutions for the operating room. The acquisition is set to close in 3Q24.

The deal isn’t a huge surprise because, in early April, Asensus entered into a non-binding letter of intent with Karl Storz.

Terms of the deal call for Karl Storz to acquire all outstanding shares of Asensus Surgical for $0.35 per share in cash. The purchase price represents a premium of about 67% based on the per share closing price of the Asensus common stock on the NYSE American on April 2, 2024 (the date prior to announcement of a potential transaction), and a premium of about 52% to the closing price of the common stock on the last trading day before the date of this announcement.

Asensus’ board has unanimously approved the transaction. The deal would help strengthen Karl Storz’s position in the growing robotic surgical market.

"We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Karl Storz, which we believe maximizes value for our stockholders,” said Anthony Fernando, Asensus Surgical President and CEO. “This transaction is a testament to the value of our innovative robotic and digital technology, intellectual property, and the hard work of our talented team. We are excited to enter the next chapter for Asensus with Karl Storz, which will allow us to continue to develop and deliver precise, safer, predictable surgery and digital tools to patients and surgeons around the world."

Related:Robotic Surgery: Who Will Be the Next Top Dog?

Major Moves in Robotics

The space has been filled with activity recently.

A little under a month ago, Sony made medtech headlines when it unveiled its surgical robotics solution prototype during the 2024 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers  Conference on Robotics and Automation.  

Earlier this week, the Microbot Robotic Surgical won FDA approval to begin human trials with the Liberty System. The device was designed, according to the company, for single-use procedures to reduce radiation exposure and eliminate user physical strain when operating seated away from the radiation source.

Johnson & Johnson MedTech announced that DePuy Synthes won FDA clearance for the clinical application of the Velys Robotic-Assisted Solution platform used in Total Knee Arthroplasty.

However, one of the biggest milestones in surgical robotics in 2024 occurred in March when Intuitive Surgical won a nod from FDA for the 5th iteration of the da Vinci surgical robot.

The Many Changes of Asensus Surgical

Asensus has had an interesting history and has pivoted a few times.

Related:A Drowning Medtech Company Clings to a Life Preserver

One of the first changes was the company moving away from its SurgiBot application. In April of 2016, when Asensus was operating as TransEnterix, FDA rejected a clearance for Surgibot because the system was not substantially equivalent to a predicate device, and that a new application would be needed. TransEnterix then moved to the Senhance system.

In February of 2021, the company had a complete rebranding effort – changing its name from TransEnterix to Asensus Surgical. In addition, the company moved away from being just a surgical robotics company and focused on branding itself as a specialist in ‘performance-guided’ surgery.

 

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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