- Smith & Nephew on Tuesday said it is launching a hand-held robotic platform for knee replacement surgery designed to enable faster procedure times compared to its current Navio robotic system.
- The London-based orthopaedic implants maker said the new system, dubbed Cori, has camera technology at least four times faster than Navio as well as more efficient cutting technology. The surgical system also incorporates Smith & Nephew's Real Intelligence software for pre-operative planning, surgery and post-operative assessment.
- The Cori platform, which received FDA 510(k) clearance in February, is available in the U.S. for both total and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty.
Smith & Nephew is doubling down on its commitment to a hand-held approach to robot-assisted surgery. That design may set the company apart from orthopaedics peers Stryker and Zimmer Biomet, whose systems rely on robotic arms to guide surgical instruments in joint replacement procedures.
But the launch comes at a particularly challenging time for the healthcare industry, as hospitals in some areas of the U.S., such as Florida and Texas, handle a new surge of COVID-19 patients. Hospitals largely halted elective surgeries following CMS guidance to do so in March and since restarting many of them, health systems in some parts of the country have again had to take a step back in response to new hotspots.
Stryker, which sells the Mako robotic platform, and Zimmer, with its Rosa system, both said a broader slowdown in capital equipment spending due to the pandemic affected orders of their robots in the first quarter. Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo said orders were delayed, but predicted sales would regain momentum when elective surgeries resume. Zimmer's Bryan Hanson also said deals had been deferred but not canceled, and noted doctors were still looking to schedule training on the system. Those comments came before the recent surges in cases in the South and West.
Amid the uncertain environment, Smith & Nephew is betting its robotic platform offers advantages to hospitals looking to become more efficient, CEO Roland Diggelmann said on the company's earnings call in May. He said the company's Navio hand-held system, for example, occupies a small footprint and is less expensive than other platforms on the market.
Similarly, the new system is suitable for ambulatory surgery centers and outpatient surgery, the company said. It also plans additional applications for the platform.
Smith & Nephew characterized its robotic sales as very strong in the first two months of the year before beginning to decline in March. The company acquired the Navio robotic system through its purchase of Blue Belt Technologies in early 2016.