Stryker dives deeper into spine imaging, robotics with $500M deal

Stryker is snapping up CT scanner manufacturer Mobius Imaging—along with the latter’s sister company focused on spine surgery robotics—in a $500 million deal that bolsters its spine division’s capabilities in image-guided procedures.

With a cash down payment of about $370 million and up to $130 million in development and commercial milestones, Stryker described the acquisition as one that also aligns with its spinal implant and navigation offerings.

"This acquisition brings expertise in advanced imaging and robotics as well as a robust product pipeline that add to Stryker’s portfolio and will allow the spine division to provide more complete procedural solutions, including sales, service and support," Stryker’s orthopedics and spine group president, Spencer Stiles, said in a statement.

Mobius’ Airo TruCT scanner offers mobile, real-time imaging both with and without a procedural imaging table. In February, the portable system was integrated for the first time with Stryker’s NAV3i guidance system for spine surgeries through a program at WellSpan York Hospital in Pennsylvania.

“The Airo CT is designed to give surgeons immediate access to fresh CT images on demand while not disturbing the surgical theater,” Mobius CEO Gene Gregerson said at the time. “With its very large bore and small footprint, the Airo is optimized for intraoperative use.”

Meanwhile, Mobius’ startup subsidiary Cardan Robotics has been developing navigation systems and hardware for assisted spine surgery procedures as well as in interventional radiology. Previously dubbed the Orion surgical suite, it’s complemented by the Airo CT system for endoscopic spine procedures. The company estimates it has about 130 Airo systems installed.

In a note to investors, Canaccord Genuity analyst Kyle Rose applauded the deal, saying it gives Stryker an immediate entry into the intra-operative imaging segment and a foothold among the robotics and navigation products that will make up the future of spine surgery.

Specifically, the integration of imaging-guided procedures into its spine portfolio will improve Stryker’s ability to compete head-to-head with Medtronic—including in bundled contracts, Rose said, where the medtech giant has shown a “very public focus on using its ‘enabling technologies’ to secure market share and pull through implant utilization.”