After four years of operating under the radar, Medtronic has made its relationship with endoscope manufacturer Karl Storz publicly official in order “to enable upcoming regulatory filings.”
In a brisk press statement, the medtech giant teased how the collaboration has been related to its upcoming robot-assisted surgery platform. Since around 2015, the two companies have worked to integrate Karl Storz’s 3D vision systems and components into the project.
"Visualization is critical to the successful execution of robotic assisted surgeries and minimally invasive surgeries," said Megan Rosengarten, vice president and general manager of Medtronic’s surgical robotics business. "As we developed our robotic platform, we led with surgeons' input to design a flexible surgical system that meets their needs and the needs of patients around the globe.”
“Surgeons can be confident our robotic assisted platform will provide market leading 3D visualization technology combined with best in-class surgical stapling and energy instruments," Rosengarten added. However, details on when to expect more information or plans for the regulatory findings were not disclosed.
Medtronic had previously aimed to launch its own general surgery robot in 2018 amid other competitors, though the project was eventually pushed back.
Since then, Medtronic absorbed its previous collaboration partner Mazor Robotics, a developer of robotic spine surgery guidance systems.
The $1.6 billion deal—which merged Mazor’s work with Medtronic’s suite of spinal implant, navigation and imaging products—bore fruit in just a few months when the medtech giant launched a new, integrated version of the companies’ robotic spine surgery system.
The Mazor X Stealth Edition combined Medtronic’s navigation platform with Mazor’s robotic guidance and provides 3D tools and real-time visualization in the operating room. The platform launched in January after being cleared by the FDA in November.