Titan is chasing TransEnterix (NYSE:TRXC) in the race to challenge robot-assisted surgery’s dominant player, Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG), and its da Vinci system. TransEnterix’s SurgiBot is expected to hit the U.S. market during the 1st half of this year; Titan’s Sport offering is anticipated for mid-2017.
Late-comers to the space include the Verb joint venture between Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Google (NSDQ:GOOG) subsidiary Verily Life Sciences; a still-unnamed device from Medtronic (NYSE:MDT); and stealthy Auris Surgical Robotics, led by Intuitive founder Dr. Frederic Moll.
Leerink Partners analysts Richard Newitter and Ravi Misra wrote yesterday that Titan’s Sport prototype, the 1st and only system the company’s made thus far, seems to resemble the next-generation da Vinci Sp system Intuitive is developing. At an estimated price of $800,000 with consumables priced “more in line with traditional laparoscopic instrumentation,” Titan management told the analysts, the Sport system will undercut da Vinci.
“While early commercialization efforts would include academic institutions, we believe ultimately the company’s sales funnel could lean toward smaller community hospitals where Sport could offer a lower cost of acquisition vs. a [da Vinci],” Newitter and Misra wrote.
Titan plans to ask the FDA to approve Sport for broad indications including general facial plastic surgery from Dr. Stephen Weber.
“Our sense is that within these areas mgmt. will initially focus on: (1) in GYN – benign hysterectomy, endometrial resection; (2) in urology – partial nephrectomy; and (3) a number of general surgery procedures including colorectal, bariatrics, and hernia,” they wrote.
A patent battle with Intuitive could be in the offing, they added, noting the similarities between Sport and the da Vinci Sp.
“Regarding IP, Titan mgmt. thinks its patent portfolio will protect the technology, particularly around certain ‘automation features’ (i.e., camera positioning and supposedly a mechanism of cleaning the camera lens without having to remove the camera), though we suspect ISRG will still aggressively go after Titan given the similarities we see between dv SP and Sport,” Newitter and Misra wrote.
Intuitive is slated to announce its 4th-quarter and full-year results for 2015 today after the stock market’s close.