- Auris Health, the surgical robot maker acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $3.4 billion earlier this year, announced preliminary data from the ongoing Benefit study of its Monarch system to aid in the diagnosis of lung cancer.
- The technology was successful in localizing lung nodules in 92% of patients, the company said.
- Early results from the study, which is designed to assess the safety and feasibility of using a robotic system in early detection of lung cancer, were presented at the American Thoracic Society conference in Dallas.
The Monarch system is FDA-cleared for diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopy procedures. It is designed to help physicians diagnose small peripheral lung nodules. The platform has a dedicated camera and instrument channel that allow continuous vision throughout the procedure to aid in the biopsy process.
The new data build on results from the company’s Reach and Access studies, which performed the procedure in cadaver lungs. Those studies showed the Monarch robotic platform improved the ability of physicians to reach lesions compared to a conventional thin bronchoscope and can biopsy lung nodules with high accuracy, Auris said.
The early data from 24 human patients in the Benefit study included no significant adverse events, the company said. The primary effectiveness endpoint is successful localization of targeted pulmonary lesions confirmed using a radial endobronchial ultrasound probe; this endpoint was reached in 92% of cases.
J&J acquired Auris, which was founded in 2007, and its Monarch technology as the medtech giant bets on digital surgery as a growth driver for the future. The company has said the platform, together with its collaboration with Verily, general surgery platforms in development with Verb Surgical and its work in orthopaedics with Orthotaxy, will enable it to offer platfroms for a range of procedures.
As part of the Auris acquisition, J&J also took on Auris CEO Frederic Moll, founder of pioneering robotic surgery competitor Intuitive Surgical. Moll has consulted on both Auris and Verb systems since the acquisition, according to J&J.
J&J's purchase of Auris follows the $1.7 billion acquisition of Mazor Robotics by medtech competitor Medtronic in December as more companies work to challenge Intuitive Surgical's dominance in the robotic surgery sector.