Intuitive Surgical to Approaching Competitors: Bring It

If the company’s better-than-expected second-quarter numbers are any indication, the surgical robotics king isn’t sweating too much over Medtronic, Verb, and others trying to overthrow its market position.

“While robotics competition is coming, Intuitive Surgical is making the necessary investments to expand its total addressable market and remain a premium player in the surgical robotics market,” wrote RBC analyst Brandon Henry in a recent note to clients.

It’d be tough to find too much to nitpick about in Intuitive’s second quarter results. The company reported second quarter revenue of $756 million grew nearly 13% compared to $670 million for the same quarter last year, and the company shipped 166 da Vinci surgical systems during the quarter compared to 130 in the second quarter of 2016. But the best indicator of the quarter’s strength is probably the 16% uptick in worldwide da Vinci procedures compared with Q2 2016, and that was driven primarily by growth in U.S. general surgery procedures and worldwide urologic procedures.

The numbers were boosted by the launch of a new da Vinci model, the da Vinci X, which provides surgeons and hospitals with access to some advanced technology at a lower price.

Morgan Stanley analyst David Lewis also brought up another growth indicator during the question and answer portion of the company’s quarterly earnings call Thursday. Analysts don’t typically ask about hiring, Lewis admitted, but he noticed that Intuitive’s hiring level for the second quarter was 25% above the next highest level.

“That’s pretty remarkable,” Lewis said, before asking where those new hires are being deployed.

Marshal Mohr, Intuitive’s senior vice president and CFO, said the company ended the quarter with 4,108 employees, which was up a little more than 100 from last quarter end, and up 19% year-over-year. He said the majority of the recent hiring has occurred in the product operations group.

“It really does vary up with the strategic investments that we’re making in the business on that side,” Mohr said.

Intuitive has also been working on gaining FDA approval for specific indications, as opposed to more general label indications, such as its recent inguinal hernia indication with positive data included in the label.

The new label gives the company a bit more freedom and clarification regarding marketing claims, CEO Gary Guthart said in response to another analyst question. “I think the data underlying it is supportive, and the interactions with FDA, I think, are ultimately helpful for the whole process,” he said.

By Amanda Pedersen | Qmed News

Image Credit: Intuitive Surgical

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About Peter Coffaro 699 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by MedReps.com as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager and Distributor. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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