2. Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson received 43 orthopedic device approvals in 2017 alone, according to the analysis firm, with over half in hip and knee systems—plus new robotics technology being built in-house for orthopedics surgery. (Wikimedia Commons)

Johnson & Johnson
Headquarters: New Brunswick, N.J.
2024 projected sales: $33 billion
2024 projected R&D spend: $2 billion
2017 sales: $26.6 billion
2017 R&D spend: $1.6 billion

Holding steady at number two on Evaluate’s manufacturer list is Johnson & Johnson. While it brought in a staggering $76.45 billion in 2017 across all businesses considered—including its pharmaceutical and consumer health divisions—its medical device segment collected $26.59 billion, up 4.5% in the U.S. and 6.7% internationally compared to the year before.

That growth was driven in large part by its $4.3 billion cash buyout of Abbott’s ophthalmology franchise, which included its contact lens solution and eye drop products, and gave J&J its first lucrative offerings in cataract and laser refractive surgery.

The deal boosted J&J’s worldwide vision care sales by 45.9% last year to just over $4 billion, according to the company’s earnings report, while contributing 4.5% to the company’s worldwide operational sales growth as a whole.

However, what is really expected to help J&J maintain its number two spot over the following five years is its work in the orthopedic sector. Evaluate's forecast shows its sales in hip and knee replacements, trauma care and spine surgeries to reach $10.3 billion in 2024, making it the world’s top orthopedic company with a commanding market share of 21.8%.

The company received 43 orthopedic device approvals in 2017 alone, according to the analysis firm, with over half in hip and knee systems—plus new robotics technology being built in-house for orthopedics surgery.

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Earlier this summer, J&J’s DePuy Synthes subsidiary teamed up with 360 Knee Systems, an Australian developer of digital solutions to personalize total knee replacements. The platform—which includes constructed 3D models of patients’ knees for surgery planning and mapping their kinetic movement—will first be available for DePuy’s Attune knee system in Australia and New Zealand.

The end goal, including through the use of wearable devices to track rehabilitation and outcomes, is to marry end-to-end digital solutions with J&J’s surgical platform to provide personalized care.

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“We take a pretty broad view of digital health,” Euan Thomson, J&J’s global head of R&D for digital technology and advanced innovation, told FierceMedtech in an interview. “The way we differ is in terms of scale.”

“Our concept is using digital technologies to expand the continuum of care,” Thomson said, describing J&J’s larger efforts, which aim to start gathering data months ahead of a surgical procedure to learn how each patient’s preparedness has an ultimate effect.

“We can start to better understand the impact a patient has on outcomes, plus the impact that surgical technique and process has on outcomes—as well as on the performance of the devices, which the corpus of research has been focused on in the past,” he said.

Thomson also pointed to the company’s joint venture with Google, former Fierce 15 member Verb Surgical, which aims to build a general surgery robot leveraging Google’s expertise in AI and large-scale data analytics and J&J’s deep understanding of healthcare.

RELATED: Verb Surgical unveils its first prototype system

Elsewhere, J&J teamed up with the U.S. healthcare system Mercy to provide real-world outcomes data on its medical devices, which it plans to use to guide its regulatory decision-making.

Mercy, which runs 23 hospitals and hundreds of clinics across Ohio and Kentucky, has built out its IT infrastructure to include millions of data points in longitudinal patient records and natural-language processing tools to harvest insights from free-text notes. The health system also forged a similar deal with Medtronic to capture deidentified data from about 80,000 heart failure patients and their responses to cardiac resynchronization therapy.

2. Johnson & Johnson