Robotics will be key for medtech and orthopedics post-COVID-19, says Moody's


Moody's reported the longer term revenue trends for medical products and devices are promising, especially related to minimally invasive procedures and robotics.

"Aside from near-term coronavirus risk, longer-term revenue trends are promising with innovation driving demand," according to the Moody's analysts in a March 17 report. "While the outlook in early 2020 remains cloudy, innovation, especially in minimally invasive procedures and products — such as TAVR, continuous glucose monitoring systems and robotics — will continue to fuel mid-single digit organic growth for a sustained period once activity normalizes."

For the past few years, these innovations have helped drive industry revenue growth 6.1 percent in 2019 and 5.6 percent in 2018. Stryker's Mako robot is leading joint replacements while Medtronic's Mazor X Stealth Edition holds the lion's share of the spine robotic market. Zimmer Biomet also has the ROSA robotic surgical technology and Globus Medical's ExcelsiusGPS is gaining steam. Johnson & Johnson has also been making significant investments in the robotic space, including for orthopedics.

The firm sees robotic-assisted procedures continuing to expand in orthopedics, benefiting Stryker with its 800 robots installed globally. Zimmer Biomet is also seeing rising sales, according to the report. "While Stryker has a significant head start in robotics, we believe Zimmer will be able to grow this business, partly due to the high level of physician loyalty for Zimmer," the report states.

Most companies anticipate a decline in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as most non-essential elective procedures have been canceled or postponed during the first half of 2020.

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