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Johnson & Johnson to acquire Auris Health for $3.4 billion

Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
Johnson & Johnson has said that Ethicon, part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, has agreed to buy Auris Health Inc., for approximately $3.4 billion in cash – with as much as an additional $2.35 billion added to the price-tag – if certain milestones are hit.

The deal furthers J&J's move into robotics, according to the company statement. It is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2019.

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Privately held Auris develops robotic techniques – currently centering around the treatment of lung cancer. Its Monarch platform is FDA-cleared for diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopic procedures.

“In this new era of health care, we’re aiming to simplify surgery, drive efficiency, reduce complications and improve outcomes for patients, ultimately making surgery safer,” Ashley McEvoy, executive vice president, worldwide chairman, Medical Devices, Johnson & Johnson, said in the statement announcing the deal, adding that, “we believe the combination of best-in-class robotics, advanced instrumentation and unparalleled end-to-end connectivity will make a meaningful difference in patient outcomes.”

Auris founder and CEO Dr. Frederic Moll, is joining Johnson & Johnson as part of the deal.

“We’re thrilled to be joining Johnson & Johnson to help push the boundaries of what is possible in medical robotics and improve the lives of patients across the globe,” he said in a statement.

The hope is that the deal will “dramatically accelerate our collective product innovation to develop new interventional solutions that redefine optimal patient outcomes,” he added.

The move, according to the companies, will permit further disruption of the medical innovation market. “With Auris Health’s current focus on lung cancer, the Monarch Platform robotic technology will play an important role within the Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson, enabling the development of a differentiated digital solution that addresses key steps in the lung cancer care journey, from diagnosis to early stage intervention, that are central to the company’s commitment to develop solutions that prevent, intercept and cure this deadly disease.”

The Auris Health technology will also find application in other Johnson & Johnson foci of interest, including open, laparoscopic, robotic and endoluminal surgical approaches.

It fits in with the company's recent acquisitions in the robotic space.

In February, 2018, the company acquired Orthotaxy, a software-enabled surgery technology developer. The move gave Johnson & Johnson access to its proprietary technology in early stage development for total and partial knee replacement.
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