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Innovation Drives Robotic-Assisted Surgery: 5 Stocks to Watch

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Robotic-assisted surgeries are gaining on enhanced precision, flexibility, control and vision that allow surgeons to perform delicate and complex surgical procedures. Surgeons can sit behind a controller and operate computerized instruments to perform minimally-invasive surgeries. This field is constantly evolving and there has been increased use of surgical robots in general procedures like bariatric surgery, Heller myotomy, gastrectomy, hernia repair, cholecystectomy, transoral surgery, and pancreatectomy.

While demand for robotic-assisted surgeries in hospitals is primarily driven by surgeons looking for better precision and ensuring more safety, it is also being used in ambulatory surgery centers to save lives in case of accidents where time is of absolute importance and resources are restrained.

Innovation and R&D Transforming Medical Robotics

Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and other spatial computing technologies are being constantly incorporated into medical robotics. These will enable surgeons to see real-time blood flow and avoid tissue damage while operating. Advancement in AI and sensing technologies is driving innovation in robotic-assisted surgical devices. For instance, surgeons can make 3-D scans of the body ahead of the procedure and plan the course of action and adapt easily.

Given its current pace of growth, in a few decades, surgeons need not be present in the operating room at all during a procedure and will be able to oversee it from a monitoring room. This might sound straight out from a sci-fi movie but when this turns to reality, it can save lives in rural hospitals or on battlefields, where getting surgeons immediately is not possible. Constant research and development are helping robotic surgery get more accurate. In fact, technological advancement, increase in production capacity and improved connectivity are giving a boost to the surgical phenomenon globally. In the coming years, it will help increase the number of surgeries performed per day.

Last November, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) unveiled Ottava, a robotic surgery system for soft tissue procedures. The platform has six robotic arms integrated into the operating table and will allow greater flexibility while taking up less space in the operating theater.

Deals Boosting the Space

What’s more? Large pharmaceutical companies are acquiring smaller robotic surgery companies to expand their portfolio. Siemens Healthineers spent $1.1 billion to take over Corindus Vascular Robotics in 2019. Corindus’ CorPath GRX system has been cleared by the FDA to perform coronary and peripheral vascular procedures, enabling robotic-assisted control of coronary guide catheters, guidewires, and rapid exchange catheters. In December 2020, Corindus launched a new set of automated robotic movements in its technIQ series for the CorPath GRX.

In February 2020, Medtronic acquired Digital Surgery, a provider of AI-driven surgical data and analytics. The merger allows Medtronic to strengthen its offerings related to surgical robots. Stryker Corporation (SYK - Free Report) acquired OrthoSensor in January this year. The Verasense intraoperative sensor technology offered by OrthoSensor will enhance Stryker’s Mako robots.

5 Stocks to Look Out For

Currently, robotic procedures only make up about 2% of all procedures. Given the rapid innovation and R&D, the global medical robots market is expected to reach $12.7 billion by 2027 from an estimated $5.9 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 16.5%, per a MarketDigits report. Hence, we have shortlisted five companies that engage in robotic-assisted surgeries and are thus poised to grow.

Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX - Free Report) manufactures medical devices and products used in various interventional medical specialties. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 63.5% compared with the Zacks Medical - Products industry’s projected earnings growth of 14.6%.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 2.6% upward over the past 60 days. Boston Scientific currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG - Free Report) designs, develops, manufactures, and markets da Vinci surgical systems, and related instruments and accessories. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 30.2% compared with the Zacks Medical - Instruments industry’s projected earnings growth of 22.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 8.4% upward over the past 60 days. Intuitive Surgical carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Stryker is a medical technology company that operates in the segments of orthopaedics, medsurg, and neurotechnology and spine. This Zacks Rank #3 company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 23.4% compared with the Zacks Medical - Products industry’s projected earnings growth of 14.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 1.3% upward over the past 60 days.

Asensus Surgical, Inc. (ASXC - Free Report) is a medical device company that engages in the research, development, and sale of medical device robotics to enhance minimally-invasive surgeries. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 58.7% compared with the Zacks Medical - Instruments industry’s projected earnings growth of 22.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 39.5% upward over the past 60 days. Asensus Surgical carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Johnson & Johnson researches and develops, manufactures, and sells a range of products in the health care field. This Zacks Rank #3 company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 18.6% compared with the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry’s projected earnings growth of 9.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 0.4% upward over the past 60 days.

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