Most of the news surrounding surgical robotics has been about layoffs. Asensus Surgical has been breaking the trend by announcing clearances and the development of new products.
The first three months of 2023 have looked grim for some surgical robotics companies. News surrounding the space has mostly been about layoffs.
However, one company is going against the grain. Asensus has announced new products such as the Luna Surgical System and has now secured an expanded indication from FDA to treat the pediatric population with the Senhance System.
The Senhance system initially received a nod from FDA in 2017 when the Triangle Research Park, NC-based company was d/b/a Transenterix. The technology is used in laparoscopy procedures. The company said Senhance is multi-port robotic system that brings the advantages of robotic surgery to patients while enabling surgeons with innovative technology such as haptic feedback and eye sensing camera control.
“We are excited to bring the benefits of surgical robotic technology to the underserved pediatric patient population in the United States. Given the small size of the patients, pediatric surgery seeks to use the least invasive instruments and scopes, while maintaining a high level of precision and stability. The Senhance System is uniquely qualified to meet these needs of pediatric surgeons,” Anthony Fernando, Asensus Surgical President and CEO, said in prepared remarks. “We look forward to bringing all of our learnings from over three years of performing pediatric procedures in Europe and Japan to the US.”
A Forrest of Layoffs in Surgical Robotics
In 2022, players in the space saw strong partnerships, expanding indications, and strong financings.
This isn't the trend for 2023.
For example, troubled Titan Medical – cut its workforce down to just 18 employees in February. The Toronto, Ontario-based surgical company cut Tammy Carrea, VP of quality and regulatory affairs; Kristen Galfetti, VP of investor relations and corporate communications; Eric Heinz, VP of market and corporate development; and Chris Seibert, VP of upstream marketing.
Vicarious Surgical, fresh off unveiling a finalized Beta 2 version of its surgical robotics system, said in February it was laying off 14% of its workforce to extend its cash runway ahead of FDA submission.
Johnson & Johnson joined the ranks of companies in surgical robotics making cuts. The New Brunswick, NJ-based company had layoffs in two of its surgical robotics units.
Auris Health, a firm J&J acquired for $3.4 billion in 2019, will be cutting 292 positions. Verb Surgical, a joint venture with Verily that J&J bought the majority interest in 2019 , is laying off 47 people.