Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is the most likely rival to Intuitive Surgical‘s (NSDQ:ISRG) dominance in the robot-assisted surgery space, but is still at least a year away from putting a competing device on the market, according to 1 analyst covering the medical device industry.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Intuitive has a long lead, having had its flagship da Vinci system since 2000 and is still on a roll, introducing new systems and instruments and looking to expand into more surgical areas. Despite Medtronic and a spate of other potential entrants, “we remain of the mindset that it will be tough to derail da Vinci,” Newitter wrote from the annual meeting of the Society of American Gastrointestinal & Endoscopic Surgeons in Boston.
“We acknowledge there could be some noise as new players come to the scene, but that [da Vinci] will continue to remain the gold standard and ISRG will continue to innovate (the EndoWrist 30mm stapler [for small, tight spaces] and SingleSite for Xi are now available),” he wrote.
“We think MDT poses the largest potential threat to ISRG, but continue to get the sense that a new system is at least 1+ year away. Mgmt. provided limited incremental information on its robotics program at the booth and said to stay tuned to the June analyst day. But even at this event, the company cautioned that details around timelines or prototype visuals could be limited,” Newitter wrote in a note to investors.
Another potential large-cap rival to Intuitive, the Verb joint venture between Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Google (NSDQ:GOOG), did not have an update at the SAGES meeting, he added.
Other players in the space are exhibiting their devices at SAGES, including TransEnterix (NYSE:TRXC) and its SurgiBot, expected to hit the U.S. market during the 1st half of this year; and Titan Medical (CVE:TMD), which could follow as soon as 2017 with its Sport system (Titan unveiled the Sport prototype in January). Newitter said both companies told him they’re on track to meet those projections, but aren’t likely to put much of a dent in Intuitive’s hold on the market.
“We have the sense that surgeons in general are receptive to new technologies coming to market but, until commercialization, it’s difficult to gauge the sustainable long-term impact. We do believe that new entrants coming onto the scene will validate robotics, expand the market, and there’s room for more than 1 player,” he wrote.
Other players or potential entrants include Hansen Medical (NSDQ:HNSN) and stealthy Auris Surgical Robotics; both startups were launched by Intuitive co-founder Dr. Frederick Moll. Here’s a look at some of the field:
|Intuitive Surgical||da Vinci||Abdominal surgeries|
|Hansen Medical||Magellan||Peripheral vascular|
|Corindus Vascular Robotics||CorPath||Percutaneous coronary interventions|
|Titan Medical||Sport||Abdominal surgeries|
|Auris Surgical Robotics||?||Ophthalmology|
|Smith & Nephew (Blue Belt)||Navio||Orthopedics|
|Google/J&J (Verb Surgical)||?||?|
|Virtual Incision||RASD||Abdominal surgeries|