Johnson & Johnson planning a robotic surgery reveal in May

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Source: MassDevice

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) appears to be preparing a preview of its robotic and digital surgery plans at a Medical Device Business Review Day that the company is planning May 13 in New York City.

“We think it will provide a very clear, transparent kind of tangible evidence of not only the machines but also the digital platform component of this as well,” CEO Alex Gorsky said of the event during a fourth-quarter earnings call today.

Robot-assisted surgery is presently a hot area in medtech — with J&J, Medtronic and others seeking to take on Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG), the dominant company in the space.

Johnson & Johnson closed 2019 announcing its purchase of the remaining stake in Verb Surgical, following what J&J described as a successful strategic collaboration with the Alphabet (NSDQ:GOOGL) life sciences unit Verily. J&J’s Ethicon subsidiary in February inked a $3.4 billion deal to pick up surgical robotics pioneer Dr. Fred Moll’s newest robotic surgical play, Auris Health, and its FDA-cleared Monarch platform.

“We think combining Auris and Verb really helps ensure that we have a very strong role in the next-generation of the digital surgery platform and ongoing development,” Gorsky said during today’s earnings call, transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

“Our teams are working now together in a really comprehensive way,” Gorsky said. “We do look at this as a platform that is something that will be in place for the next several decades. Therefore, it’s really important that we step through this in the right way. And what I would say is the early results from the collaboration and the partnership that we’re seeing between these teams is very encouraging.”

J&J is also planning a mid-year regulatory submission for what Gorsky described as its Velys orthopedic robotics platform as it seeks to compete against Stryker and its Mako robots.

“We think that it’s going to offer a portable, low-cost system that’s easy to use, will improve accuracy,” Gorsky said.

J&J’s DePuy Synthes bought Paris-based Orthotaxy in 2018, and an ortho robot prototype displayed at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons conference in early 2019 was the size of a shoebox, attaching to an operating table.

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