Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) announced today that it agreed to acquire the remaining stake in Verb Surgical, following a successful strategic collaboration with Alphabet (NSDQ:GOOGL) life sciences unit Verily.
Verb Surgical’s robotics and data science capabilities were the driving force behind Johnson & Johnson’s decision to combine with the company as it seeks to advance medical interventions, making them smarter, less invasive and more personalized.
In July 2017, Johnson & Johnson chairman & CEO Alex Gorsky labeled the company’s approach with Verily as “computerized surgery,” in an update on the companies’ robot-assisted surgery platform.
Johnson & Johnson said that the combination of Verb Surgical’s robotics and data science expertise, along with Verily’s digital technology and engineering capabilities, will allow the company to move forward in medical interventions, including open surgery, laparoscopic, percutaneous and endoluminal procedures.
The company expects the transaction to close in the first half of 2020, subject to antitrust clearance and customary closing conditions. The financial terms of the acquisition won’t be disclosed.
Johnson & Johnson made a big step into the field of robotic surgery in February after its Ethicon subsidiary inked a $3.4 billion deal to pick up surgical robotics pioneer Dr. Fred Moll’s newest robotic surgical play, Auris Health, and its FDA-cleared Monarch platform, in February of this year.
The company has been working with Verb Surgical since 2016, and today’s full acquisition of the robotics business is another step toward a foothold in surgical robotics for the healthcare giant.
“We have reached this important milestone thanks to the progress the Verb Surgical team has made with their digital surgery platform and the strong collaboration with Verily, Ethicon and the clinicians around the world who shared their passion, deep insights and clinical expertise,” Johnson & Johnson chairman, medical devices Ashley McEvoy said in a news release. “We are building a truly differentiated digital surgery ecosystem to change the standard of care for generations to come, and our collaboration with Verily has enabled us to advance our vision to help improve outcomes for patients around the world.”
“With Verb Surgical, we set out with an ambitious mission to successfully harmonize the talent and expertise of two pioneers to design a platform with the potential to transform surgery,” added Verily CEO Andrew Conrad. “This evolution in the collaboration recognizes the significant achievement toward that mission and I’m excited for the future of this technology in Johnson & Johnson’s hands.”
“The ability to shape the future of medical interventions with the largest health care organization in the world is what inspired me when Johnson & Johnson acquired Auris Health, Inc.,” said Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies chief development officer Dr. Fred Moll. “With Verb Surgical’s talent and technology, we will strengthen our portfolio and our ability to deliver our digital ecosystem to make a clinical difference for patients.”