Mazor unveils spine surgery guidance system

Mazor X, photo: Mazor Robotics website

Medtronic has already ordered 15 Mazor X systems and the system's potential market share is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mazor Robotics Ltd. (Nasdaq: MZOR; (TASE:MZOR), which develops robotic spine surgery systems, launched the Mazor X. The system will be at the center of Mazor's cooperation with medical instrumentation corporation Medtronic. Mazor announced that following past company efforts, the system has already been cleared for marketing.

According to the agreement between the parties, Medtronic is expected to order at least 15 systems by the end of the year. Mazor CEO Ori Hadomi said that the order has already been made. Ten systems will be placed in leading US hospitals and five more in Medtronic instruction centers

The company did not report any product clinical trials, but Hadomi claimed that the Mazor X was tested in 100 operations in Europe and the US, "Including very complex operations." The Mazor X will be commercially launched during the American Spine Society (NASS) annual meeting which will be held in Boston in October.

"This product allows us to examine the spine holistically. We expanded the definition of 'robotics,'" says Hadomi. The device's increased responsibilities are manifested in two fields. The first is the decision regarding screw location in spinal fusion surgery. Hadomi, "In the past, our system was used to place the screw in a location where it will not harm nearby tissues and will be effective in terms of fusion. At present, the system is aimed at helping doctors decide where to place the screws, based on significantly expanded data.

"We look at the patient's entire posture, ask him to bend in four directions right, left, forward and backward conduct x-ray and CT imaging and use a smart algorithm to predict how screw implant will affect posture. We provide a recommendation regarding screw location, which eventually enables the patient to have the most erect posture and largest degree of stability and freedom of movement."

Hadomi adds, "In the post doctors told us 'do not make decisions for us, do not over-roboticize the process.' Now, they say 'what else can you do for us?' which shows that they trust us."

The moment of truth: in two years

Moreover, the system will assume responsibility over operation theater information management. For example, data on how many procedures each doctor carries out, when, how much time do they take and what are their results. This information will be used, inter alia, for Medtronic stock management, as well as for the hospitals own use. "One of Medtronic's most substantial expenses in the field of spinal implants is the supply of a stock of implants for each relevant hospital. Planes depart the company's logistic center for all corners of the globe. By analyzing real use patterns, real 'just in time' stock management can be made possible." He adds, "we have been in contact with large companies for a decade, but this system has changed the picture for us and enables us to establish relations with whoever we wanted to."

Hadomi is optimistic, but the system, and agreement's, benchmark will occur in two years, when Medtronic will have to choose whether to enter an exclusive marketing agreement with Mazor and order, during four years, systems totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Hadomi's words shed some light on the reasons why Medtronic should market the product.

Hadomi remarks that the basic concept for the upgraded robot was brought up some 5-7 years ago, "but it was unclear whether the world had the computing power necessary for such a product." Since then, the world underwent the big data revolution and the computing power has been found. "We developed the product in complete secrecy, with a separate team we recruited specially, in a site separate from the Mazor offices in Caesarea and 85% of company employees did not know such a product was being developed," said Hadomi.

Extensive inter-organizational marketing efforts are probably required to the prevent employees who were not in the know from being offended.

"Of course, but at present the situation is the opposite. This is one of the happiest periods there has been in Mazor, with everyone feeling that we are doing the right thing, rather than a gimmick or a miniscule change."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 17, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Mazor X, photo: Mazor Robotics website
Mazor X, photo: Mazor Robotics website
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