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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Homing In

Since the first daVinci surgical systems began marketing in 1999 and the following acquisition of Computer Motion by Intuitive Surgical in 2003, very few innovations have been made in the field. Initial adoption of such technology was limited and most surgeons were highly sceptical about its future. However, over the span of 15 years, Intuitive Surgical transformed robotic surgery from an interesting market experiment to an established technique. Today, analysts project exponential growth in the years to come, and nobody doubts that the future is in robotics.

As initial patents expire and new technologies are developed, a rising number of modern robotic surgical systems have been, or are about to be, launched. The competition for shares will be fierce.

Perfecting Platforms

The market might seem big enough for everybody, but the reality could be more complex. For most hospitals, adopting a given robotic surgical platform is a big decision and is not easily reversible, as it involves significant costs and efforts, such as staff training. Due to the requirements for an increased number of operating rooms and storage, a costly multi-platform-adapted staff and a complex maintenance organisation, working with two different types of robotic platforms is also unlikely. However, bigger hospitals that might actually need to utilise several robotic platforms could reduce costs by taking advantage of economies of scale.

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Dr Andre Faure has a surgical background and decided to interrupt his early medical career to develop new surgical devices. For more than 15 years, he has led several multi-national R&D programmes in the field where he has developed robotic surgical instruments, including devices for treating atrial fibrillation and liver cancer. Andre is also the founder of Trod Medical, a company created around one of his inventions – a robotic device specifically developed for localised prostate cancer treatment.
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Dr Andre Faure
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