The success of Intuitive Surgical’s ($ISRG) da Vinci robot for minimally invasive surgery is creating a growing list of “fast followers,” but the company believes it has created enough “moats” to fend them off for quite some time, according to Leerink equity analyst Richard Newitter.
As such, the followers haven’t been that fast, with Medtronic ($MDT) and partners Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Google ($GOOG) still looking to launch their devices following FDA clearance in 2000. The lag time reflects Intuitive’s moat and the gradual evolution of the robotic surgery market.
Stryker’s ($SYK) Mako robot was recently cleared by the FDA for total knee reconstruction following the $1.65 billion acquisition of Mako Surgical in 2013. But the da Vinci doesn’t compete in the orthopedics arena, so the other robot doesn’t pose a threat.