Where 4 companies stand with spinal robotic technology


Medtronic, Globus Medical, Zimmer Biomet and NuVasive all have spinal robotic technology either on the market or set to launch later this year.

Medtronic completed its acquisition of Mazor in December 2018 in a $1.7 billion transaction. The company originally worked with Mazor on the Mazor X system, which is available in the U.S. currently, and received FDA clearance for the Mazor X Stealth Edition, which combines Mazor's robotics platform with Medtronic's StealthStation software. In the fourth quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, Medtronic sold 26 Mazor X Stealth navigated robotics systems. The company now has around 70 percent of the spine robotic market share and an installed systems base that is three-and-a half times more than the closest competitor, according to Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak.

The company also reported 80 percent of the Mazor systems sold during the fourth quarter were to customers that had combined capital and implant contracts, and the percentage of Mazor robotic cases that included Medtronic spinal implants increased more than 60 percent in the quarter.

Globus Medical also has a spinal robot on the market: ExcelsiusGPS. President and CEO Dave Demski reported the system's deals with hospitals were taking longer than expected to finalize, but the company was able to close several deals in the second quarter that were expected in the first. He cited an "increase in marketing initiatives by [the] competition" as a reason for the delayed deal closures. However, Mr. Demski is still optimistic about robotics and Globus' technology.

"There are several reasons for our optimism," he said during the first quarter earnings call, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "First and foremost, we are seeing consistent adoption of the technology backed by accounts who have purchased ExcelsiusGPS. And as a result, surgeons are able to perform less invasive techniques."

During the first quarter of 2019, ExcelsiusGPS drove $7 million in revenue for the company, which reported sales increased 5 percent to $182.9 million in the quarter. The company is also filing for FDA clearance for a cranial solution and spinal deformity planning solution, which it will launch by the end of the year. Globus also hopes to unveil three modular platform technologies to complement their robotic system.

At the beginning of the year, NuVasive launched the X360 System for lateral single-position surgery with integrated surgical intelligence technology. The company expects to fully jump into robotics in September, launching the Pulse robotic platform for spinal procedures. The platform will be designed to assist surgeons in all surgeries, not just simple or complex procedures. Nuvasive estimates full year revenue will grow 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent in 2019, hitting $1.14 billion to $1.16 billion.

Finally, Zimmer Biomet achieved FDA 510(k) clearance for the minimally invasive Rosa One Spine System. The company acquired the technology when it purchased Medtech in 2016 for $132 million. The system provides navigation support and is part of Zimmer Biomet's robotic portfolio, which also includes the Rosa Knee.

In July 2018, Zimmer Biomet CEO Bryan Hanson said it would re-engage the robotic technology in the spine market and take a measured approach to roll out the technology in a safe and effective manner.


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