- Ekso Bionics acquired Parker Hannifin’s Indego lower limb exoskeleton products and the other assets in its human motion and control business.
- Parker Hannifin, a large, diversified business, sold the unit for $10 million, handing responsibility for the technology’s commercial success to the much smaller exoskeleton specialist Ekso.
- At Ekso, Indego and planned robotic assisted orthotic and prosthetic devices will slot into a portfolio of wearable robotics that are designed to tackle loss of mobility.
Parker Hannifin sells motion and control technologies that are used by customers in industries including construction, mining, transportation and oil and gas. In 2012, the company, which generated total sales of $16 billion last year, secured a license for Vanderbilt University’s exoskeleton. The Food and Drug Administration cleared the resulting product, Indego, for use in 2016.
The product never became a significant part of Parker Hannifin’s business — there is no mention of the device or the broader human motion and control unit in its annual financial filing — and the company has now decided to exit the space.
Ekso paid $5 million upfront and committed another $5 million spread across quarterly installments to buy the human motion and control unit. The question now is whether Ekso, a much smaller but more specialized business, can drive growth of the device. Ekso’s sales over the first nine months of the year were $9.4 million. At $17.5 million, its market capitalization is a fraction of that of Parker Hannifin.
In a statement, Mark Czaja, chief technology and innovation officer at Parker Hannifin, made the case that Indego and the broader human motion and control business will thrive under new ownership.
“This is a great technology with an outstanding team that has built a highly differentiated product offering to help improve gait performance and outcomes for people living with mobility impairments,” Czaja said. “The acquisition will allow Ekso to leverage their robust commercial and clinical teams to ultimately enable this important technology to reach more patients in need across the continuum of care.”
Ekso disclosed the deal alongside news of a change in leadership. In connection with the takeover, Steven Sherman has resigned as Ekso CEO, but will remain chair of the company’s board. Scott Davis, who became Ekso’s chief operating officer and president at the start of the year, will take over as CEO.