Johnson & Johnson considering multibillion-dollar deal on Tower E …
Johnson & Johnson, the world’s leading manufacturer of healthcare products, is looking to expand its portfolio once again with the acquisition of Auris Health Inc. in a deal worth over $2 billion say sources at Bloomberg.
While still in negotiations, the deal would expand J&J’s current robotic surgery offerings and solidify its foothold in the robotics category by offering Auris Health Inc.’s FDA-approved system for diagnosing and treating patients with lung cancer.
Led by industry pioneer and visionary entrepreneur, Dr. Frederic Moll, the man behind the da Vinci surgical robot, Redwood City, California based Auris Health system relies on flexible tubes maneuvered into a patient’s lungs via a robotics device resembling a video game remote. Once inserted in the lungs, the device, called the Monarch, can identify cancerous tumors.
The potential acquisition is not altogether surprising as in May of last year, NeuWave Medical, a subsidiary of J&J’s medical arm, entered into a partnership with Auris. The goal was adding microwave ablation capabilities to the end of Monarch’s robotic bronchoscope, enabling the device to diagnose and treat tumors during one procedure.
J&J’s overall data-driven approach to robotic surgery aims not only to increase the efficiency of the procedure but also pair it with data points gathered in the months before and after surgery in the hopes of providing better outcomes. By doing so, they hope to isolate the role played by the patient and the procedure.
While no deal has yet been struck, the acquisition could signal a split between J&J and the partnership made in 2015 with Verily, Alphabet Inc.’s medical arm, to develop the next generation of robotic-assisted tools for surgeons.
J&J’s interest in Auris is consistent with the industry-wide race to innovate technology that makes surgery safer and less invasive. Last month, competitor Medtronic acquired Mazor Robotics Ltd., an Israeli company specializing in spinal and brain surgery guidance systems, for $1.7 billion.
The continued investment into robotics technologies signals an attempt to diversify J&J’s portfolio as the company recently warned analysts of expected slowed or halted growth in 2019. The threat of ballooning liabilities from lawsuits coupled with increasing pressure from generic pharmaceutical companies, the healthcare giant seeks innovation and profits elsewhere.
In September 2018, the company acquired Emerging Implant Technologies GmbH, a German manufacturer of 3D-printed titanium implants for spinal fusion surgery for an undisclosed amount. A month later, J&J agreed to pay $2 billion for full control of Japanese skincare company Ci:z Holdings Co.
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*Tower Equity owns a minority position in Auris Health.