Stryker, Medtronic & more: What 4 device execs are saying about robots in 2021


Several medtech companies have shared their most recent quarterly earnings reports in the last two months and provided insight into their surgical robot products.

Here's what four medtech executives had to say about surgical robotic technology via third-quarter 2021 and second-quarter fiscal-year 2022 earnings calls.

Stryker's third-quarter strengths were in the demand for its Mako robotic technology, Vice President of Investor Relations Preston Wells said in a third-quarter earnings call Oct. 28.

"[It] continues to help surgeons improve patient outcomes by knowing more and cutting less," Mr. Wells said, as transcribed by Motley Fool. "This trend across capital is expected to continue as hospitals take advantage of flexible financing and prioritize capital products like those within our portfolio that are critical to providing emergency care, driving profitable procedures and ensuring safe working environments for caregivers and patients."

Mako has continued seeing sales momentum despite the pandemic.

"In spite of the procedural slowdowns, we're seeing strong demand for our system," Mr. Wells said. "We clearly have the leading system on the market with a big head start versus the competition. And frankly, the competition has actually raised the water level of robotics and raised the importance of robotics. So we love our position. And we believe that it's just going to increase the demand for Mako."

NuVasive marked the commercial launch of its Pulse robotic system for spine surgery in the third quarter, CEO Chris Barry said in a Nov. 9 earnings call.

"Unlike other navigation or robotic systems on the market, Pulse provides surgeons the freedom of faster decision-making through integrated technologies that inform one another, producing a seamless and efficient workflow," he said, as transcribed by Motley Fool.

Mr. Barry said the company is currently focused on Pulse in developing new technologies.

"We're focused on launching the Pulse, launching the Pulse system effectively and then creating that value chain through things like robotics, other key smart technologies that enhance the value over time," he said.

Globus Medical
Adoption of the ExcelsiusGPS navigation robot for spine surgery grew in the third quarter despite the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO Dave Demski said in a Nov. 4 earnings call. The next Excelsius robot, Excelsius 3D is expected to launch by the end of 2021.

"This virtuous cycle is driving an acceleration in our growth," he said, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "The ExcelsiusGPS robot will soon be joined by the Excelsius 3D imaging system and the Excelsius Hub navigation platform, both of which gained FDA 510(k) clearance in [the third quarter]."

Looking ahead, Mr. Demski said NuVasive is honing in on surgical drill technology to address a gap in robotic technology.

"Oscillation significantly improves the safety profile of high-speed powered instruments compared to traditional drill technology," he said. "Furthermore, this technology is an important element in our plan to incorporate safe, efficient tissue removal capability into our robotic platforms in the future."

Medtronic has made the push into soft tissue robotics with its Hugo system, CEO Geoffrey Martha said in a Nov. 23 earnings call for the second quarter of fiscal year 2022.

"We achieved a major milestone when we received CE Mark for Hugo [in October], and we also completed our first procedures with Hugo in our Asia-Pacific region at Apollo Hospitals in India," Mr. Martha said, as transcribed by Motley Fool. "The first surgeons to use Hugo in the clinical setting have told us they believe Hugo addresses the cost and utilization barriers that have held back the growth of robotic surgery."

Hugo's CE mark approves the robot for urologic and gynecologic procedures.


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