Stryker reported strong performance in the fourth quarter of 2018 with a record number of robots installed and a healthy order book going into 2019.
Stryker made the market wait for more than a year after FDA approval for the full commercial launch of its Mako total knee product, prompting us to wonder, at the time, if the robot would be worth the wait.
It’s safe to say, after seeing the company’s latest earnings report, that the answer is an unequivocal yes.
Katerine Owen, vice president of strategy and investor relations at Stryker, told investors Tuesday that Stryker installed a record 54 Mako robots globally during the fourth quarter, and that more than 40% of those installs were in competitive accounts. Geographically, Owen said the U.S. market led the way with 36 robots compared to 27 in prior years. Globally, the company now has 642 robots installed with 523 in the U.S., the majority of which have been upgraded to the Total Knee system, she said, according to Seeking Alpha transcripts of the earnings call.
Owen said the company certified roughly 250 surgeons on the Mako Total Knee during the quarter, bringing the total number of surgeons trained since launch to roughly 1,600. There were about 24,800 Mako robotic procedures performed in the United States during the quarter with the total number of procedures for 2018 topping 76,900. Owen said the number of Mako Total Knee procedures increased 35% from the previous quarter to about 15,500 and that knees represented roughly 60% of all Mako procedures performed in the United States in 2018.
Stryker also saw a continued uptick in utilization rates on the robots, which climbed more than 25% from the third quarter and was up 30% year-over-year. Owen said the ability to perform cementless Total Knee on the robot, which FDA approved during the fourth quarter of 2017, is helping to further drive cementless adoption. More than 30% of Stryker’s Total Knee procedures are now cementless, Owen said.
“Combined, we believe these data underscore that Mako is undoubtedly a powerful marketing tool for hospitals that continued demand for the robot and steady acceleration in the utilization by surgeons is being driven more by the powerful clinical results and patient benefit,” Owen said. “Looking ahead to 2019, we believe we are well-positioned to continue to drive Mako momentum as we exited the year with a healthy orders pipeline for the robot.”
Judging by the number of Mako-related questions at the end of the call, it’s safe to say analysts are impressed. Bank of America’s Bob Hopkins even called the Mako numbers “super impressive” in terms of procedures and systems sold. Below, we’ve highlighted the most pressing questions analysts asked Stryker executives during the call.
Image Credit: Stryker