News from Medtronic and DLR
"The company expects its surgical robot to generate "material revenue" in 2019, though "we'll obviously launch before that." It's "likely" to hit the market in fiscal 2018, Leerink's Danielle Antalffy wrote in a note.
Medtronic plans to use its surgical robot in every surgery that robots are currently able to perform. Its prowess in minimally invasive surgery will allow the company to immediately target all of these procedures "out of the gate," Hanson said, though he highlighted colorectal, thoracic and bariatric surgery in particular.
The devicemaker started working with the German Aerospace Center, or DLR, on its surgical robotics platform about three years ago, Hanson said. This technology relationship was the first of many that Medtronic pursued to speed up development. Picking up existing tech along the way is allowing Medtronic to reach the market faster, "because you don't have to create it, it doesn't have to be proprietary, and… it's lower cost to take things off the shelf and ultimately more easily upgradeable," Hanson said. Medtronic is currently working on its tenth prototype of the robot, with another likely to come before it moves onto next steps."
"Medtronic has been discussing its timeline with FDA, but the United States won't be the first region to see the robotics platform. The company is planning to launch the system first in India. "We will roll this out first in India because of the regulatory restrictions there, and we'll learn quite a bit on that first initial launch. . . We're going to make sure that we take this slow and steady. We don't want any mistakes," Hanson said.
The robotics platform, Medtronic's biggest R&D investment in the MITG division, is forecasted to contribute 50-150 basis points of sales growth to the segment by fiscal year 2019. That's an estimated $50-$150 million in annual sales, according to Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen.
There are 150 employees in three locales dedicated to the project. Robotic arms are the focus in Germany, software is being developed in Cambridge, MA, and instrumentation is handled mainly in North Haven, Connecticut."
Source: Fierce Medical Devices, Forbes, MDDI
Image credit: DLR MiroSurge