Johnson & Johnson Snaps up Surgical Robotics Company Auris Health for $3.4 Billion

Johnson& Johnson logo inside office building

Johnson & Johnson plunked down $3.4 billion in cash to acquire privately held Auris Health, Inc., a company that developed robotic endoscopic technologies that can be used in the treatment of lung cancer.

Johnson & Johnson said the acquisition will accelerate the company’s entry into robotics with potential for growth and expansion into other interventional applications. In its announcement this morning, Johnson & Johnson said Auris’ Monarch Platform, which is focused on lung cancer, will play an important role in the healthcare giant’s Lung Care Initiative. The addition of the technology will enable the development of a differentiated digital solution that addresses key steps in the lung cancer care journey, the company said. It will provide benefits from diagnosis to early-stage intervention that are central to the company's commitment to develop solutions that prevent, intercept and cure this deadly disease, J&J said.

“In this new era of health care, we're aiming to simplify surgery, drive efficiency, reduce complications and improve outcomes for patients, ultimately making surgery safer," Ashley McEvoy, worldwide chairman of medical devices at Johnson & Johnson said in a statement “We believe the combination of best-in-class robotics, advanced instrumentation and unparalleled end-to-end connectivity will make a meaningful difference in patient outcomes.”

Johnson & Johnson said it is creating a connected digital ecosystem that is centered on the use of data to improve patient outcomes that “that leverages world-class robotic technology.” The company said the new ecosystem will empower patients to “take charge of their health, guide surgeons through procedures and help them advance their skills and enable healthcare systems to deliver more consistent procedures while also managing costs.”

Under terms of the deal, J&J paid $3.4 billion in cash, with the potential for an additional $2.35 billion in contingent payments related to certain predetermined milestones. Frederic Moll, chief executive officer and founder of Auris Health, will join J&J as part of the deal.

Moll said Auris coming under the J&J umbrella will allow them to push the boundaries of what’s possible in medical robotics.

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“This combination is a testament to the incredible work of the Auris Health team and the innovation engine behind the Monarch Platform, which represents a huge step forward in endoluminal technology. We look forward to continuing to shape the future of intervention with the added expertise and resources of the world's largest healthcare organization,” Moll said in a statement.

Auris Health's technology will support Johnson & Johnson's vision of being a world leader across the continuum of surgical approaches, including open, laparoscopic, robotic and endoluminal. Johnson & Johnson said the acquisition of Auris is complementary to the February 2018 acquisition of Orthotaxy's robotic technology for orthopedics and the continued development of the Verb Surgical Platform, through its 2015 strategic partnership with Verily.

"We are very committed to our partnership with Verily on the development of the Verb Surgical Platform. Collectively, these technologies, together with our market-leading medical implants and solutions, create the foundation of a comprehensive digital ecosystem to help support the surgeon and patient before, during and after surgery," McEvoy said.

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