Mazor Robotics (NSDQ:MZOR) said today that it’s accelerating a deal with Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), which is due to put another $40 million into Mazor and take on exclusive global distribution rights for the Mazor X robot-assisted surgery device.
It’s the third investment in the Israeli surgical robotics concern for Fridley, Minn.-based Medtronic, taking its total investment to $72 million and a 10.6% stake in Mazor. The deal also includes 1.21 million warrants priced at $44.23 apiece; if exercised in full Medtronic would own a 14.2% stake in Mazor, having invested some $125 million.
A year ago Medtronic paid $20 million for a 3.4% stake as part of a two-stage deal struck in May of that year. The first phase of the deal called for Medtronic to acquire 15 Mazor systems in 2016 and made Medtronic Mazor’s sole partner for developing and commercializing robot-assisted spine surgery devices. The second phase called for a three-step equity investment; after the second step, triggered by the launch of the Mazor X system in July 2016, Medtronic had spent $31.9 million acquiring a 7.27% stake in Mazor.
The new terms of the deal set annual minimum Mazor X purchases that could mean hundreds of the systems over a four-and-a-half-year period and place about 30 Mazor sales reps under the Medtronic umbrella “to assure continuation of the current momentum,” Mazor said, noting that it will continue to service the installed base of Mazor X platforms.
Apart from shoring up the balance sheet, the deal is expected to slash Mazor’s annual operating expenses by $13 million, or about -25%, the company said.
“Medtronic is our valued strategic partner and together we have achieved the desired outcome for Phase I well ahead of our original plan,” Mazor CEO Ori Hadomi said in prepared remarks. “I believe that the move to this next phase reinforces our significant leadership position in the growing market for surgical guidance systems for spine procedures. Our strategic partnership will allow hospitals in new markets around the world to have access to the Mazor X and gain the clinical benefits that this technology offers.
“The strategic partnership between Mazor and Medtronic has already resulted in 59 Mazor X system orders since the October 2016 launch and reflects an accelerated sales cycle due to customers’ eagerness to adopt our solutions for the spine market,” Hadomi said. “Now, as commercial responsibility for the Mazor X in the spine market shifts to Medtronic, the annual minimums for sale of Mazor X systems agreed to by the two companies are expected to drive substantial improvement in Mazor’s financial results during the next several years. Together we will be able to further advance our robust jointly-developed product pipeline for the spine market, to make a difference for patients while Mazor also pursues new opportunities to apply our innovative technologies to other medical needs.”
“Moving to the next phase of our strategic partnership demonstrates our shared passion for transforming how spine surgery is done,” added Medtronic Spine president Doug King. “Mazor Robotics’ technology and Medtronic’s navigation capabilities and implant systems provide spine surgeons with complete procedural solutions that advance the standard of care and will help surgeons maximize predictability and efficiency.”
MZOR shares, which closed down -1.7% at $41.97 yesterday, jumped 6.3% to$44.60 today in pre-market trading.