Battle in Silicon Valley: Device makers trade barbs in the fight to gain share in robot assisted procedures

August 16, 2012 by Arezu Sarvestani

The best way to beat Intuitive Surgical out of the corner it has on the prostate cancer treatment market is by amping up the aggression, radiosurgery veteran and Varian chief medical officer John Adler tells MassDevice.com.

boxing gloves

Radiosurgery innovator and medtech veteran John Adler is ready for a fight.

The outspoken inventor of Accuray's (NSDQ:ARAY) CyberKnife system, as well as the company's founder and former CEO, Adler is an evangelist for radiosurgery and its potential in a variety of applications.

As chief medical officer for rival device maker Varian Medical (NYSE:VAR), Adler hopes to see radiosurgery companies push the envelope in fighting for mindshare among surgeons, especially in challenging Intuitive Surgical's (NSDQ:ISRG) da Vinci surgical robot, he told MassDevice.com.

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Adler is unabashedly enthusiastic about radiosurgery's future, which he views as limitless, albeit a bit sluggish to arrive. He's been actively watching the industry from Silicon Valley where Varian, Accuray and Intuitive Surgical's headquarters lie within a 10-mile radius.

"I would have thought where we are today we would have been 10 years ago, but nothing happens too fast in medicine," Adler said in an exclusive interview. "But it's unstoppable – radiosurgery is coming and it's going to change the world."

In order to do so, Adler added, radiosurgery players need to adopt a more aggressive strategy to engage surgeons, especially in urology and prostate cancer treatment where Intuitive Surgical has a strong presence.

"Radical prostatectomy's not a very good procedure, I don't care how you do it," Adler said. "It's certainly no better with the da Vinci."

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