Medical Robotics: Three Perspectives

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ARTICLE SUMMARY:

The opportunity in robotics looks different depending on whether you are building on a leadership position, launching a start-up, or investing in a company. At this year’s WSGR Medical Device Conference, a panel of three, expressing the views and describing the experiences of all three situations, weighs in on the current robotics landscape.

An investor, a strategic, and a start-up walk into a bar…

Well not exactly a bar, but this past June, Wilson Sonsini’s annual medtech conference was the perfect setting for a wide-ranging discussion on one of the hottest topics in the medical device industry today: the opportunity in and future of medical robotics. The question though: whose opportunity and whose future? To get at this topic, it’s important to take into consideration all the stakeholders in this particular ecosystem: small companies developing the next generation of technology, the investors backing them, and large strategics. And complicating the story in robotics: the role and presence of Intuitive Surgical, which has long held a dominant position not just as a market leader, but as a force in innovation as well.

In the following interview, based on a panel discussion that took place this past June at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s 29th Annual Medical Device Conference, Andrew Chung, founder and managing partner of Jackson Hole, WY-based 1955 Capital shared the investor’s perspective, while Bruce Lichorowic, CEO of Galen Robotics, represented the start-up community, and Julian Nikolchev, SVP, corporate development and strategy at Intuitive, offered the strategic’s point of view as president of Intuitive’s recently formed venture fund, Intuitive Ventures. (For more on the latter see “Intuitive Surgical Launches a Venture Fund and Makes its First Investment,”MedTech Strategist, December 2020.)

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