In biggest-ever Israeli biotech exit, Medtronic buys Mazor for $1.6b
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In biggest-ever Israeli biotech exit, Medtronic buys Mazor for $1.6b

Irish-US firm vows to continue development of Israeli robotics technology that helps surgeons perform safer and more accurate surgeries

A back surgeon looks at a 3D model of a patient's spinal column in preparation for surgery using the Mazor Renaissance system (Courtesy)
A back surgeon looks at a 3D model of a patient's spinal column in preparation for surgery using the Mazor Renaissance system (Courtesy)

Mazor Robotics Ltd., an Israeli biotech firm that develops robotic surgical systems, announced Friday it was being acquired by Irish-American medical device company Medtronic for a sum of $1.64 billion, the biggest-ever “exit” for an Israeli biotech company.

Medtronic previously owned an 11 percent stake in Mazor, which provides among its products a suite of software that includes image processing and computerized anatomy recognition. The technology enables preoperative planning, helping surgeons better plan spinal procedures.

Last year, Mazor, founded in 2001, received clearance from the US Food & Drug Administration for the Mazor X Align software to help surgeons correct spinal deformities. Medtronic was already the sole distributor of the software under an agreement between the two companies.

“We believe robotic-assisted procedures are the future of spine surgery, and provide surgeons a more precise, repeatable, and controlled ability to perform complex procedures,” said Geoff Martha, executive vice president of Medtronic and head of the company’s Restorative Therapies Group. “Medtronic is committed to accelerating the adoption of robotic-assisted surgery and transforming spine care through procedural solutions that integrate implants, biologics and enabling technologies.”

Of Mazor’s technology, Martha told Bloomberg, “It improves outcomes in spinal surgery and reduces the variability. Once we realized this is clearly the future, we knew we had to integrate all this technology.”

Martha said Medtronic aimed to expand Mazor’s operations in Israel.

“The acquisition of Mazor adds robotic-assisted guidance systems to our expanding portfolio of enabling technologies, and we intend to further cultivate Mazor’s legacy of innovation in surgical robotics with the site and team in Israel as a base for future growth.”

Medtronic began investing in Mazor in 2016.

“Today is a historic day for spine surgery and a defining event in the market’s evolution, and I want to acknowledge and thank all of those whose contribution and faith have been so critical and impactful to our success,” Mazor Robotics CEO Ori Hadomi said in a statement.

“The Mazor team and product portfolio’s full integration into Medtronic will maximize our impact globally through Medtronic’s channels, advance our systems’ leadership position in the marketplace, and drive the realization of our vision to heal through innovation.”

Israel’s Science Minister Ofir Akunis welcomed the news, calling the sale “an enormous achievement for the company, and a source of pride for all of Israel.”

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