Johnson & Johnson Acquired Orthotaxy to Develop a Robotic-Assisted Orthopedic Surgery Solution


With its acquisition of Orthotaxy, Johnson & Johnson joins a growing list of medtech players strengthening surgical robotics offerings expanding the technology's applications.  Orthotaxy's is in early-stage development for total and partial knee replacement.  The deal helps J&J compete more effectively against Stryker’s Mako orthopedic surgical solution, acquired in 2013. In 2015, J&J's Ethicon unit partnered with Verily, Google’s life sciences unit, to form Verb, a surgical robotics firm and compete with Intuitive Surgical, the market pioneer and leader with its  Da Vinci system. Transenterix, another player in the space, received FDA clearance for the Senhance surgical robot in October 2017.  Senhance was the second surgical robot cleared for abdominal entry since Intuitive received an FDA nod in 2000.  There are some relatively new players in the surgical robotics space, including Medtronic, which has been developing a new robotics platform named Einstein. Medtronic began focusing on surgical robotics in the orthopedics space through agreements it signed with Mazor Robotics, an Israeli-based company, about two years ago. One agreement called for Medtronic to have a co-promotion and joint, exclusive development and distribution agreement. The other calls for Medtronic to take an equity stake in Mazor. In August 2017, Medtronic further expanded the relationship and made a $40 million third tranche investment in Mazor.