Zimmer and Think Surgical Collaborate to Introduce Knee Surgery Robot

Release date:2024-06-13 Source: Author: Nick Paul Taylor

**Dive Brief:**

Zimmer Biomet has teamed up with Think Surgical to exclusively distribute a wireless handheld robotic device for knee surgeries, the companies announced on Tuesday. The new product is a customized version of Think's existing robotic device, which is compatible with implants from multiple manufacturers. Zimmer is incorporating its technology into this customized device, while maintaining its existing Rosa robotics platform as its primary focus.

J.P. Morgan analysts have described the partnership as a "cost-effective way to expand Zimmer's robotic options," but they remain cautious about the potential for significant market share gains. The handheld device is expected to be particularly advantageous in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), which are a key focus for Zimmer.

**Dive Insight:**

Zimmer’s Rosa competes with Stryker’s Mako and Johnson & Johnson’s Velys in the robot-assisted knee surgery market. Unlike these traditional, console-based systems, Think’s Tmini device has a smaller footprint and features a wireless robotic handpiece guided by a CT-based surgical plan. Think is marketing the Tmini as a way to make robotics more accessible to clinics and operating rooms.

Truist Securities analysts noted that Tmini currently works with implants from 10 other manufacturers, mostly smaller market share players, in addition to Zimmer. The distribution deal involves a customized robotic device tailored specifically to Zimmer’s knee implants.

Nitin Goyal, Zimmer’s Chief Science, Technology and Innovation Officer, stated that Tmini is "well-suited for knee procedures performed in ambulatory surgery centers and other outpatient settings." ASCs were a significant topic at Zimmer’s investor day in May, where executives discussed capturing the $7 billion opportunity growing at high single-digit rates.

CEO Ivan Tornos expressed interest in technologies like Tmini at the investor day, stating that the company seeks “robotic knee categories or platforms that can deliver a better solution.” Although committed to Rosa, Tornos mentioned exploring other options.

Zimmer plans to launch the Think-partnered device in the second half of 2024. The product may be more affordable than existing robotic systems, with Truist analysts noting that Tmini is nearly half the cost of rival devices.

J.P. Morgan analysts pointed to the "mixed success of Smith and Nephew’s handheld Cori" as a reason to be cautious about Zimmer’s potential market share gains and discussed possible future steps.

“We wouldn’t completely rule out the potential for an acquisition in the future,” the analysts noted. “While this would give Zimmer Biomet control over Tmini as well as the full Think Surgical robot, it would replace a solid option in Rosa. Overall, we are uncertain about the added value this would bring to the company.”