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J&J Purchase of Auris Featured in Xconomy

Feb 13 2019

Xconomy


Johnson & Johnson's $3.4 billion all-cash purchase of Auris Health was featured in Xconomy, a publication that reports on the latest in business, life sciences, and technology.

Auris's FDA-cleared Monarch Platform is a robotic system that aids physicians in diagnosing and treating lung cancer. J&J's acquisition of Auris is intended to help the company build upon plans to become a major player in "digital surgery." The agreement also states that Auris could gain up to an additional $2.35 billion if they meet pre-specified milestones, thought those milestones are not available to the public.

Auris has previously worked with J&J in an agreement to pair the Monarch Platform with J&J's Neuwave technology to add microwave ablation capabilities to the Monarch's scope. This would allow physicians to treat cancerous tissue in the lungs. Though lung cancer is Auris's first target, there are plans to develop the Monarch Platform technology for other treatment areas in the future.

Analysts at SVB Leerink noted that J&J's acquisition of Auris helps provide an earlier entry into the robotics market with a product that has already been commercialized. J&J told SVB Leerink that the purchase of Auris will not affect timelines for other robotic platforms, including a Verb product slated to launch by the end of 2020. However, the acquisition does allow J&J to directly compete with an Intuitive surgical product expected to launch by mid-2019. Auris's Monarch Platform gives surgeons a better view of the surgical field, offering a competitive advantage over other robotic surgery platforms on the market.

Auris's CEO, Dr. Fred Moll, will join J&J upon closure of the deal, which is expected to happen by the second quarter of 2019. Dr. Moll, a veteran of the medical device industry, will bring his expertise in robotic surgery to the company.

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