Intuitive joins forces with Dextera on surgical stapler for da Vinci system

The da Vinci system--Courtesy of Intuitive Surgical

Dextera Surgical and Intuitive Surgical ($ISRG) are developing a surgical stapler and cartridge to be used with Intuitive’s da Vinci Surgical System. This news comes after a successful 6-month feasibility evaluation of Dextera’s MicroCutter stapler tech, which is part of an ongoing license agreement between the two.

Intuitive will develop the stapler and Dextera will be responsible for the stapler cartridge, per an amendment made to the license agreement in December 2015.

Intuitive has been pushing ahead of the competition in robotic surgery, leaving many big names in its wake. Medtronic ($MDT), Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Google ($GOOG) are hopeful that they can carve out some space for themselves in this market, but Intuitive’s da Vinci system has gained a fast following, leaving the path to success more difficult for competitors.

Intuitive CEO Gary Guthart noted during an earnings call in January this year that the da Vinci system’s ecosystem puts it a cut above. Similar to the way Apple has built an empire on an independent ecosystem, da Vinci robots work with da Vinci instruments, programs and so on.

“That whole set of products and ecosystem we think is important, and so as competitors enter they have to choose, can they show that value in terms of outcomes and price?” Guthart said during that call. “And can they offer the set of ecosystem elements that are going to be useful?"

This stapler and cartridge aim to become part of that ecosystem.

“This partnership with Intuitive Surgical is a significant step in the progress we have achieved in enhancing and expanding the long term opportunity of the MicroCutter technology,” said Julian Nikolchev, president and CEO of Dextera Surgical, in a statement. “Intuitive Surgical is a leader in advancing robotic and minimally invasive surgery, and we believe Dextera and MicroCutter technology will have a strong role to play in these types of procedures in the future.”

- here's the press release

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