Market drivers

Robotics

The use of robotics in surgery allows doctors to perform complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. Since the approval of the da Vinci surgical system in 2000, robots have been helping patients have fewer complications, lower incidents of revision surgery, reduced pain and less noticeable scars from surgery.

Recent deals include:

  • Smith & Nephew’s acquisition of US-based Blue Belt Technologies, a company which develops and commercialises robotics-assisted technologies for use in orthopaedic surgery and other specialities, for €251m.
  • Bionik Laboratories Corp. acquire Interactive Motion Technologies, Inc., a US-based provider of robotic solutions for patients with neurological conditions.
Medical Equipment and Supplies Report 2016 – Market drivers Image
Medical Equipment and Supplies Report 2016 – Market drivers Image

3D printing

Johnson and Johnson has, to date, completed more than 50 3D printing related projects with technology, academic and government groups. Earlier this year it announced a collaboration with a HP subsidiary to use printing to improve outcomes for healthcare companies and help decrease costs.

This follows similar forays by health and wellness companies into the 3D printing sector. Printing allows for truly bespoke prosthetics and products which are likely to function more effectively. Unique products have previously come at potentially prohibitive prices and it is hoped that the mass adoption of these technologies may bring down the cost and make 3D printed prostheses more affordable.

Given the interest in this area we have not yet seen the transaction activity we would expect. However, one deal saw Tonka Bay Equity Partners acquire Ansonia Plastics, a US-based medical device manufacturer offering pad printing services. Stryker has also invested €500m in a new 3D medical device printing facility.

This is a segment that is likely to see significant M&A in the next few years as advances in technology continue to drive down printing costs.

Point-of-care testing

In early 2016 life sciences company Meridian Bioscience acquired Magellan Diagnostics, the US-based developer of point-of-care diagnostics products with a focus on lead testing, for €59m.

Spiral Energy Tech acquired Exactus BioSolutions Inc., the US-based developer of point-of-care diagnostics for measuring proteolytic enzymes in the blood. NOWDiagnostics also acquired ZBx Corporation, a US-based developer and manufacturer of rapid format, laboratory, and point-of-care diagnostic products.

This trend is unlikely to be short-lived, especially where a quick result improves efficiency in clinical decision making. This is particularly relevant in developing nations prone to widespread outbreaks of disease and where technological advances and high ownership of smartphones are making devices more affordable.

Medical Equipment and Supplies Report 2016 – Market drivers Image