The revolution of robotics and automation has now become clearly visible in the industrial and manufacturing sector yet has also expanded to consumer products, defense, food and beverage, shipping and packaging, transportation and a multitude of other, if not all, industry groups. One highly underfollowed area that I feel will be a growing topic of conversation as well as driver of investment growth in 2018 is medical robotics. Most have heard of or are aware of Intuitive Surgical who developed the da Vinci surgical robotic system which was prototyped in 1997 and received initial FDA approval in 2000. The da Vinci surgical robotic system has revolutionized laparoscopic surgery and currently has added the ability to accomplish procedures remotely meaning a doctor in the U.S. can perform a real-time surgery on a patient in any other location in the world. The evolution of Intuitive Surgical has been remarkable, not to mention the total return of ISRG being 6855.1% since IPO in 2000. What has not been an active topic of conversation is that Intuitive Surgical is no longer the only kid on the block and in fact not even the only robotic surgical system that can perform procedures remotely. To emphasize this expansive space, I have assembled the following list of publicly traded companies who are currently involved in medical robotics.

Laparoscopic (minimally invasive) Surgery:

  • Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) – da Vinci Surgical System
  • Transenterix (TRXC) – Senhance Surgical System

Spine and Brain Surgery:

  • Mazor Robotics (MZOR) – Renaissance Guidance System & Mazor X
  • Globus Medical (GMED) – ELSA-ATP System

Cardiovascular Procedures:

  • Corindus Vascular Robotics (CVRS) – CorPath GRX

Arthroscopic Surgery:

  • Smith & Nephew (SN /LN) – NAVIO Surgical System

Radiation Therapy:

  • Accuray (ARAY) – CyberKnife
  • Elekta AB (EKTAB SS) – Versa HD, Elekta Infinity, Elekta Synergy, Precise Treatment System and Elekta Compact

Hair Transplant:

  • Restoration Robotics (HAIR) – ARTAS System

Exoskeletal Systems:

  • Ekso Bionics Holdings (EKSO) – EksoGT, EksoZeroG and EksoVest
  • Myomo (MYO) – MyoPro Orthosis
  • ReWalk Robotics (RWLK) – ReWalk Personal 6.0 and ReWalk Rehabilitation System

Pharmaceutical Automation:

  • Omnicell (OMCL) – Robotic Pharmacy Automation Systems

The top human surgeons in the world share a specific weakness, a limited amount of manual dexterity, which has unfortunately given use of the common phrase “inoperable.” Well the word inoperable is about to be lost from our vocabulary forever being that robots do not have such limits of manual dexterity. If your life was on the line would you choose a human to perform your surgery or a robot with an infinitesimally small margin of error? As robotics and automation continues be one of the highest performing areas of investment the sub-group of medical robotics is now running neck and neck with industrial automation and has the potential being a leader in the entire space being that human life is more valuable than any good or service.