Intuitive Surgical, the pioneer of robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery, has acquired Denzlingen, Germany-based Schölly Fiberoptic‘s robotic endoscope business. The financial terms of the acquisition were not detailed.
Intuitive said the acquisition will integrate Schölly’s robotic endoscope manufacturing line and two Schölly sites into Intuitive operations:
- The robotic-related manufacturing line from Denzlingen, Germany
- The manufacturing site in Biebertal, Germany
- The repair site in Worcester, Massachusetts
Intuitive will integrate into its team approximately 200 staff from these three sites over the next 18 months. Speaking to investors in April 2019 during the Q1 earnings call, Intuitive CEO Gary Guthart mentioned imaging as one of the priority areas for R&D investment.
Schölly, which has been a supplier for Intuitive for 20 years, has designed and manufactured several imaging systems for Intuitive’s flagship da Vinci surgical systems. Intuitive said the vendor relationship is slated to continue with Schölly’s fiberoptic business.
“Schölly has been an important and valued vendor for Intuitive since the very early days of the company,” said Brian Miller, Intuitive senior vice president for systems and vision. “Leading visualization has been a core pillar of our company and we expect it to continue to be important going forward. It makes sense to bring the teams together for both organizations.”
In addition to bringing important aspects of da Vinci’s visualization system under Intuitive, the acquisition will help strengthen Intuitive’s supply chain, and increase its manufacturing capacity for imaging products.
Largest Robotics Investments During 1st Half of 2019
|Company||Funding (M$)||Lead Investor||Date||Technology|
|Intuitive Surgical||2000||Stock Repurchase||2/1/19||Surgical Robots|
|Cruise||1150||Honda Motor Corp.||5/7/19||Autonomous Vehicles|
|Uber ATG||1000||SoftBank Vision Fund||4/18/19||Autonomous Vehicles|
|Nuro.ai||940||SoftBank Vision Fund||2/11/19||Autonomous Vehicles|
|Horizon Robotics||600||SK China||2/27/19||AI/IOT|
|Aurora Innovation||600||Amazon||2/7/19||Autonomous Vehicles|
|Weltmeister Motor||450||Baidu Inc.||3/11/19||Autonomous Vehicles|
|Cloudminds||300||SoftBank Vision Fund||3/26/19||Service Robots|
|Innoviz Technologies||170||China Merchants Capital||3/26/19||LiDAR|
|Think Surgical||134||3/11/19||Surgical Robots|
|Beijing Auto AI Technology||104||Robert Bosch Venture Capital||1/24/19||AI|
|Black Sesame Technologies||100||Legend Capital||4/15/2019||Machine Learning|
|Ekso Bionics Holdings||100||Zhejiang Youchuang Venture Capital Investment Co.||1/30/19||Exoskeletons|
|TUSimple||95||Sina Corp||2/13/19||Autonomous Vehicles|
|Ouster||60||Runway Growth Capital||3/25/19||LiDAR|
|NASN Automotive||59.6||Matrix Partners China||1/30/19||Autonomous Vehicles|
|HistoSonics||54||Varian Medical||4/8/19||Medical Robots|
|Ike||52||Bain Capital Ventures||2/5/19||Autonomous Vehicles|
|Enflame||43.4||Redpoint China Ventures||6/6/2019||AI Chipmaker|
“Application-specific and advanced image quality is our passion and the key for successful and safe minimally invasive surgery,” said Prof. Dr. Holger Reinecke, CEO of Schölly. “We have a long, successful relationship with Intuitive, and we share the common mission to advance health care by providing state-of-the-art technologies and innovative product features. This transaction will allow Schölly to focus more strategically on our global visualization business and ensure sustainable growth.”
Intuitive has been busy in 2019. In February, the FDA cleared Intuitive’s Ion system, which is designed to enable doctors to conduct minimally-invasive biopsies deep within the lung. Ion includes an articulating robotic catheter with an outer diameter of only 3.5 mm that is able to move 180 degrees in all directions, allowing a physician to navigate the catheter through small and tortuous airways to reach nodules.
In March, Intuitive won another indication from the FDA for its da Vinci SP robot-assisted surgery device. The FDA added single-port radical tonsillectomy and tongue base resection procedures to the mix.
Intuitive also raised the largest investment of any robotics company in the first half of 2019. It raised $2 billion via a stock repurchase in February.
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