For years, Intuitive Surgical appeared to be the only company capable of cracking the code for medical robotics. But with companies like Medtronic, Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, Google, and others creating their own efforts the sector appears to be stabilizing. Is there room for early-stage entrepreneurs and VC investors in this capital-intensive sector?
Paul joined SV Life Sciences Advisers in 2009 and is focused on medical devices investments and brings over 33 years of global medical technology management experience.
John joined VytronUS in early 2015 as the President and CEO. John has more than twenty-five years of medical device experience. Prior to VytronUS, John was President and CEO of Endoscopic Technologies, Inc. a leader in minimally invasive and endoscopic cardiac ablation, valve repair or replacement, and coronary bypass surgical technology.
Mr. Timko joined Blue Belt in August 2011, bringing with him over 20 years of experience in the medical industry, and lead Blue Belt through the transition from a development stage company to a commercially driven company achieving over $10 million is revenues in the first full year of commercialization.
Tom Salemi: Hi, everyone, welcome back to the Medtech Talk Podcast. This is Tom Salemi, your host. We are one day past the Medtech Conference. We had it yesterday at the Loewe’s Minneapolis Hotel. It was a fantastic event, 300 really of the movers and shakers and leaders in medtech. Happy to have such a robust collection of medtech folks. Opened up the day with an interview between Stacy Enxing Seng and Geoff Martha of Medtronic. We’ll have that content, that interview, both written and video on our Medtech Conference website. It’ll be coming up next week, so stay tuned for that. We’ll start posting content daily, so keep visiting back and you’ll hear what happened there, if you were one of the unfortunate few who did not attend. One of the panels that we had that we will bring to you right now was a panel I did on robotics technology. I had Eric Timko, formerly of Blue Belt, Paul LaViolette from SV, and Chairman of TransEnterix, and John Pavlidis of VytronUS. We talked about where robotics is and where it’s going. There’s a lot of activity from the strategics in this space, to the point where one might argue that it’s not an emerging technology, and I tried to make that argument, and was summarily slapped down by the gentlemen on the stage. So I hope you enjoy this quick glimpse of what happened yesterday at the Loewe’s Minneapolis hotel at the Medtech Conference. And again, keep checking Medtechconference.com for our updated content.
TS: So I’m going to welcome to the Podcast. You can say thanks for having me, what an honor to talk to you, Tom, whatever you want to say. Something like that. So welcome to the Podcast.
Paul LaViolette: Thank you for having me. What an honor to be here, Tom.
Eric Timko: This is the highlight of my life.
John Pavlidis: Thank you for having me as well. It’s my pleasure.
TS: Well, one gentleman on the panel. So we’re talking about robotics, and when you say medical robotics, it almost sounds like an emerging technology. But we’ve been talking about it emerging for a long time now. Now we’re seeing Google, J&J, Medtronic made a deal. All the strategics are lining up behind this technology. Smith and Nephew, I heard, acquired a company. Where are we with medical robotics? Is this like your parents being on Facebook? Like now that all the strategics are doing it, it’s no longer emerging or a place for investors and entrepreneurs to look for opportunities? Or is this still a nascent industry that requires the work of entrepreneurs and investors? Why don’t we start here? Paul, you’ve got dual roles. And in your answers – we’ve got the bios in Pitchbook. You can look those up. But tell us a bit about the companies that you’re sort of representing, and what their approach to robotics is. I think that’ll be helpful.
Paul LaViolette: Sure, Tom. So this is Paul LaViolette, and I represent, by way of my board role and investment role, TransEnterix, which is a two platform, general surgery robotics company. I think it’s still nascent, without a doubt. You can look at the compelling role that Intuitive has played in building out a robotics industry, and there have been others. Certainly orthopedics is an area of great promise. But when you look at what percent of all procedures are not yet penetrated or converted, how many are done either laparoscopically or by open surgery in comparison to robotic, or robotic assisted, it is still very much under-penetrated. You could look at the technologies and say they’re fundamentally still early generation. And certainly when you look at the value propositions being proposed by some of the up and coming technology companies, they offer a lot of potential improvement, more sophistication, easier for customer assimilation, more cost effectiveness, more integration into the healthcare system. So there’s a long way to go, and therefore by definition I would say we’re still nascent.
TS: And Eric, you’ve had some success with Blue Belt. You can talk about that. You’ll be unemployed in two days. I’m very sorry to hear that.
Eric Timko: Available.
TS: Maybe you can talk about Blue Belt and you as an entrepreneur who’s going back onto the field. How do you view this area?
ET: Yeah, I surely agree with Paul. I think it’s still at an early stage. I think there’s a couple key components. One, we were fortunate to be a fast follower to Mako Surgical. Mako was acquired by Stryker for a billion seven. We firmly believed out of the gate that we had better technology for a couple different reasons. One, ours was a hand-held robotic instrument, an enabling technology which wasn’t driven by a big behemoth of a device, and had a robotic arm that the physician held onto. Ours was a hand-held. We let the surgeon drive the robot, instead of the robot driving the surgeon. That resonated very well in the orthopedic market, because if you think about it, these guys are carpenters in a sense. They use hammers and saws. So they love that aspect of it. And the other thing about being a fast follower is we were able to look at all of the other, as we would say, issues with the devices that are out there. The expense of a Mako system or an Intuitive system, it’s a million two, million five. Our system, we penetrated the market at $450,000. And we did really well, not only because we were in the teaching institutions at 450, but then we went to the community hospitals. Then we took it to the outpatient settings where, you know, bundled reimbursement and all of these things that are key talking points really helped us benefit. So as I look at robotics going forward, I still believe that it has to do two things. One is you have to have compelling data. You have to make the surgeon better, extend their career or do something that gives them an edge. The other piece of this is the marketing piece. If you look at what’s going on all over the country, you’ve got robotic institutes for orthopedics popping up, for general surgery popping up. I think that’s significant as well. And I think as long as that continues to happen – and the third piece is you have to be at least time consistent with the manual application, if you’re adding time or adding things that make the procedure more difficult, more expensive, it’s never going to fly.
TS: And John, tell us about VytronUS and how you sort of fit into the doctor’s existing workflow.
John Pavlidis: Yeah, thank you, Tom. So fundamentally, we view robotics as two broad categories. The biggest one is the Intuitive Surgicals of the world that really change the entire procedure and involve a big investment by the hospital, and a new workflow paradigm, if you will. We see ourselves as part of the second category, which is more incremental robotics, where we fit, by and large, into the existing workflow, and we make the physician’s life easier, less stressful, with targeted robotic application in the field, in this case, of atrial fibrillation. So if we look at our field, 80% of the procedures are done by people who do fewer than 25 procedures a year. Ten percent are done by people who do between 25 and 50, and the other 10% by the experts in the field, who do more than 50 procedures a year. So we see our technology as an opportunity to really democratize electrophysiology and make it accessible to more and more physicians who are either not doing it today, and about a third of electrophysiologists don’t do any ablations, or make their life easier by reducing the stress factor during the procedure.
TS: That’s a great point.
ET: I was just going to add onto that point. So we did a lot of studies based on what John was just saying. And when we brought a Navio, which is our robotic instrument into a hospital for somebody to start doing uni knees or partial knee replacements, we also watched the implants of their total knee replacements and their total hip replacements go up because that patient was googling “I need a knee replacement; who do I go to,” found a doctor that had a robotic tool. Well, all of a sudden, they weren’t qualified for a uni, so they ended up getting a total knee a great deal of the time. And because they had Googled that physician, found out he used robotics, his practice went through the roof. And when Smith and Nephew was evaluating that piece of the puzzle for us, we were able to show them the significant amount of physicians that improve their implant use across the board.
TS: And I would like to – you each have microphones. If you want to talk to each other, I won’t be offended. Who is demanding the robotics? I mean we talk about the physicians, the democratization of surgeons. Is that something that they want? Is that something that surgeons want, that they want to have something other than their skill and their own hands really decide their practice and to –
PL: I think it’s a great question. I’ll just start off. I think certainly if you go to a major OR today and you see a major surgeon who’s not robotic, he’s not saying he needs it. He’s saying I’m fine without it. And listen, there is a – one of the things we have to talk about is the learning curve, the training investment that’s required. And there are some who really aren’t willing to do that, or who have not seen sufficient value in the offering in the form of definitive changes and outcomes to say that I’m willing to commit my surgical life, my surgical practice to becoming a robotic surgeon. So without a doubt, that’s a reason why this is still early in development. On the other hand, to answer the question specifically, a lot of patients are driving this. There’s this sense, and it is not necessarily documented well or supported by clinical evidence, but there is this sense that robotic surgery will give me a better outcome. A number of physicians, and this is clearly demonstrated by those who have already become doctors, are saying this does make me a better practitioner. This does limit my strain, it does extend my skill set, it may make my life as a surgeon longer. And those are all things that they want to have going for them. So starts with, in my view, patient driven, surgeon driven. And then ultimately the hospital setting, I think, has been more in response to those 2 drivers, rather than on the front end. The smart early adopters have turned it into a marketing weapon. But no, when hospitals think about the initial cost and then the long-term cost effectiveness of the technology, I would say that chief financial officer is generally the last person to become a convert to robotics.
TS: John, with VytronUS, the marketing probably doesn’t come into play. Who is demanding your product?
JP: Yeah, very true. The marketing has not yet come into play because we’re not commercial.
JP: But at the same time it’s interesting. When we looked at the marketplace and we spoke with a lot of electrophysiologists, you usually don’t find a person who says I really am not good at what I do, and I could use all the help from robotics. Just like what unites us all is that we all think we’re above average drivers, right?
TS: I am.
PL: From Boston.
PL: Need I say more?
JP: But at the same time, it’s very, very clear that the crème de la crème believe they don’t need any help. And one of our worries is how could we appeal to them. And the appeal for them actually, as they reflect back to us, is after a 2 or 3 procedure day, my brain is fried. The concentration factor, the intensity of the procedures is so high that they’re very, very tired. So the experts welcomed the stress relief that the robotics enables. And the people who don’t do the procedures a lot welcomed the ability to do the procedures just as well as the experts.
TS: Eric, with Blue Belt, the orthopedics are more open to having this assistance? They saw it – other than the market ability, they saw it as something that would help them –
ET: Yeah, I think without a doubt, I think again, when you look at – Minnesota is a great example, actually, because we’re such a conservative state there was not an orthopedic robot in the state of Minnesota. And I think this year we’ve put 5 in already just because the first one fell, and now all the community hospitals around the first one have jumped into the fray and said I have to have this marketing too. But I also think, as we always said with our system, and John’s point is right on target, at the end of the day you’ve done 4 or 5 knees and you’re shaving bone and sawing, and you can make mistakes. And so what our system did is it allowed you to color within between the lines. And if you did it great on your own, God bless you, but if you veered off course and were making a mistake, we help protect you. And that extends careers, that extends obviously patient satisfaction rates and all of those things that are really important.
TS: So is it really just a matter of getting that first hospital to get the system in and that – sort of a domino after that?
ET: Yeah. Actually, our key sales tactic is if Mako sells, when we go to the hospitals within that 5 mile radius, and load them up.
TS: Really? And how to the hospital administrators feel about that?
ET: They have no choice in a sense, because they’ll lose those patients. Because again, it’s an educated patient because of Google and everything else going on. They’re going to lose those patients unless maybe the doctor’s done their other knee. But for the most part, that patient’s going to say, Hey, I want to know what you do in robotics; where can I go?
PL: I think that’s a major dynamic. Obviously, if you look at the major seminal systems, whether it’s Mako or Intuitive, they have a very high price point; they’ve had to build the entire penetration curve. They’ve done that extremely well. But the number of centers that don’t have them still exceed by far the number of centers that do. And so it’s a combination of getting that domino effect going as well as creating a differentiated price point so that not every major institution with 12 ORs becomes the customer, but rather ultimately smaller hospitals, where surgeons may be in more need of that democratizing advantage of the technology. And then ultimately, over time, all the way out into ambulatory centers, where so many procedures are done today. And again, they don’t benefit form concentrated volume and super highly skilled practitioners.
TS: What makes patients think that robotic technology is so good? I mean is the clinical evidence there to show that you’ll get a much better performance out of a knee done with a robot than not? Or is it just – I don’t want a self-driving car for that very reason. It just terrifies me. I don’t know if I want a self-driving surgeon to put a knee. I know we’re taking it to a ridiculous extreme, but what is it about robotic technology that’s so appealing to patients?
ET: I think there’s two things. One is, again, we have somebody that’s watching TV and they see the Toyota commercial where the robot picks up the car and builds the car from scratch. That’s not what we do. We’re robotic assist. But that’s what they think, and that’s the perception. And if we can build a car with a robot, surely my doctor should be doing a robotic procedures on my knee versus using a saw and a hammer. So I think that’s point one. Point two is the data is important. And if you started to look at the data in partial knee replacements especially, which is a very, very difficult procedure, our data was very, very compelling. And when you start to show that physician in his first 10 cases the improvement over his last 25 manual cases, it starts to open eyes and turn heads.
TS: John, your robot, your system is actually kind of like that robotic car because it’s taking over something that’s unpleasant and even dangerous to do sometimes.
JP: So just to be clear, what we focus on to do robotically is something that is challenging or tedious or more difficult to do for the physician. But they do what is much easier for human to do than any today’s robot, which is access the vasculature across the septum. And once they’re inside the heart, that’s when our technology comes in to make their life easier. From the patient perspective, as they learn more about this over time, it’s exactly what Eric said. The clear perception and with lots of evidence to back it up, the robots can be more precise. For example, in terms of human hand steadiness, roughly 100 micron precision is quite good. Our technology can be 10 to 15 microns precise in terms of movement per second. In terms of the fatigue factor, people intuitively understand a robot is not going to get tired. It’s not going to get distracted, perhaps. So those factors come into play in terms of the appeal. In our space specifically, there’s another big plus for the physician as well is that by doing a lot of the work on the work station away from the x-ray field, you can reduce x-ray exposure significantly. So fluoro times typically in the procedures today are 15 to 26 minutes on a good day. And they could be below 5 or 3 minutes with our technology.
TS: We’re going to take a quick break from this conversation from our Medtech Conference to remind you to go to the medtechconference.com website, not only to check the new content that’s coming out from the Medtech Conference, but also to sign up for the Medtech Talk email. If you haven’t signed up yet, just go on Medtechconference.com, look for the opportunity to sign up for the email. We’ll just need your address. And each week you’ll get this Podcast, our video content from our conferences and other conferences we attend, and also our original written content. So we hope you sign up and join the Medtech Talk family. Now back to this conversation.
TS: How is this technology being viewed by the payers? We need obviously to talk about the payers. Is there concern? Are they paying any more for procedures done with robotics? Do they view every robotics company the same? What is the view from the reimbursement side of things? I don’t know, Paul, if you have –
PL: I don’t think they view every robotics company the same, because really we’re talking entirely different fields. If you look at it from the payment perspective, afib is a different DRG than a total knee, is a different DRG than a lap chole. So I don’t think they see them that way. I do think there is a larger cloud over the space, which is, to your earlier question about data, not whether or not there is data that show outcomes are at least as good if not better, and in many cases the are better, but then layering in cost effectiveness and how much more am I paying for that slight improvement in outcomes. So I think the controversy over time and where the greatest benefits are still yet to come in robotics. We’ll ultimately be showing that the speed, the efficiency of the procedure can be married in with the clinical benefit to create a clinical and cost benefit, which I would say is still in the controversial space today.
ET: And I think in orthopedics in general is if you have a total knee or a partial knee put in, and it’s put in just a hair off, I mean your patient satisfaction rate is terrible. And so most of the time, that patient will go in for a revision. And a revision knee is one of the most expensive procedures in the hospital now. And so just reducing the amount of those procedures is significant from a cost-payer side.
TS: And have you had interactions with reimbursement?
ET: We have. And candidly, we’d love to see it and working with our friends on the other side. But in conjunction a robotic code that allows for better reimbursement because there is some cost to it, as we all know. But as you start to think about moving this to an outpatient procedure, which a lot of physicians are doing this manually, this would be the better way to do it, so you get better satisfaction results.
JP: So in our case, the reimbursement thankfully in the afib space is very healthy. So that’s not a big factor because we’re also not changing the workflow or we’re not requiring extra capital equipment investment up front. So it’s really similar to what they’re used to, which is a disposables based model. Over time, one of the exciting things that we see is the opportunity to change the workflow from today, basically an EP lab that’s dedicated with the expert physician with their support staff doing one procedure, to potentially migrating to the way of the cath lab, which is a control room with multiple procedures going on, and the main expert really participating in only the most challenging part of the procedure, and rotating rooms, if you will, as opposed to being in the procedure the entire time. So that’s certainly an efficiency and opportunity for savings.
PL: I think it comes back, though, to the notion that robotics are not for everyone or everything right now. And if you think about the comment that Eric just made about potentially avoiding the need for a repeat intervention, that’s extremely demonstrable. And when you can show it, it’s really impressive. And that’s a great entry point, if you will, for robotics. If you go to the opposite end of the most common, high volume, high throughput procedures in the OR, and say OK, well, there’s a chance with robotics that I might slightly improve the outcome, although that may be difficult to show for a while, but I will slow down the procedure and I will increase the time between cases for changeover, I think the average OR would look at that and say there’s no way I’m bringing that in. And so you have to be really careful about picking your targets and saying this one is susceptible to be improved with robotics, these are not, and obviously therefore don’t go there.
TS: Let’s talk about another important stakeholder, the FDA. John, where are you in your interaction with the FDA? And how do they view your technology?
JP: Yeah, we’ve had some good early interactions with the FDA, including face to face meetings. And their feedback is very interesting. They do view robotics as a higher bar. But once they got to understand our technology and the incremental approach to it, and the fact that still the physician has all the control they need, they even advised us to stay away from the world robotics and use more computer assisted or other terminology just because – to avoid getting in potentially hot water with exaggerated perception of what the system does on its own, so to speak, without the human input or ability to override.
TS: That’s – I mean that’s the FDA, where that kind of hysteria that wouldn’t – not hysteria, but the fact that the term robotics would be a negative buzz word. Is that a broader concern in robotics, that applying that label to a company or a technology brings just a higher bar to clear, a higher burden to –
JP: I don’t think there’s any question it’s a complex piece of technology. And so if you’re going into the FDA with a laparoscopic tool versus a surgical robot, there’s a fundamental difference in the size of that submission.
TS: Little bit.
PL: And yet the technologies in the end are intended to do the same thing. And so I think they’re – number one. Number two, bear in mind these are, with the exception of an afib indication, these are for the most part class 2 devices. Class 2 pathway through the FDA is obviously not the most heavily resourced, and there can be a mismatch between the scale of the submission and the resources on the reviewing end. And that can create, I would say, some [do?] loops in the process that you might not find with a submission that was more proportionate to the indication. So there is complexity associated with it on the other end of that. However, I would say FDA appreciates that. They’re trying to get better at it. They understand this is the beginning of the wave, and they’re going to see a lot more of these coming. And I think they’re gearing up for that. But it’s not a perfectly smooth process, not yet.
TS: And you had recently with TransEnterix had some news with the FDA.
PL: I would say it wasn’t perfectly smooth. And so yes, TransEnterix submitted a 510K with an existing predicate technology, class 2 device, and a no clinical required submission. It was turned down. I personally feel that that ultimately can be redressed, but that’s part of the learning process that we’re going through.
TS: And will that be redressed?
PL: I said I think it can be.
TS: OK. Yes, you did.
ET: And I would add one or two comments. One is the Blue Belt path through FDA was, I don’t want to say simple, but it was fairly straightforward. I will tell you that the group in orthopedics has great robotics experienced. They’re tenured. They’ve been around for a long time, so they knew the questions to ask based on Mako Surgical, based on a company called RoboDoc that was around years ago. So they helped us navigate through it, again, same thing as John said. We used computer assisted surgery or robotic assisted. We didn’t use robotic technology. But then it goes to the physician. The technology I mentioned is an actual robot that you press a button and it comes in and it does a knee procedure, and the physician stands in the back and talks to his broker or the scrub nurse. And they’ve sold none, right, because nobody wants to have that risk. So they just added a stop button, so now he stands there and holds a stop button in case something goes wrong. They still haven’t sold any. And again, I think that goes to the acceptance in the marketplace. Who wants that? You go through years and years and years of training to press a button, or now maybe two buttons, and it just doesn’t fly.
TS: Fascinating. Let’s look at the – we’re talking a bit about the payers, about FDA. Let’s talk about the business itself. We’ve seen some stories lately of some legacy robotics companies. Intuitive’s obviously doing well, but it’s not been – there’s been some bumps in its ride. Hanson was acquired recently for a lower amount than I think people would have hoped. Stereotaxis has had some trouble, Catheter Robotics has had some trouble. The early goers in this space have had a hard time. Is that other lessons from those experiences that have been learned in the second group, Intuitive perhaps standing – counting as a success? Will the second crop of robotics companies coming in be stronger because of what’s happened previously? Paul, if you have a thought on that?
PL: Well, yeah. It’s a very mixed bag. But I don’t know that you can throw them all together and draw a conclusion. Listen, Intuitive made the market. It took them a while to find, as they would say, their killer app. Subsequent to that, it’s been one of the greatest success stories in the history of the medical technology industry. So I’d say anyone from Intuitive or at Intuitive would say yeah, it’s working well, we’re not complaining. If you compare that to a Stereotaxis or a Catheter Robotics, extremely different targets, value propositions. And I think you really have to roll those back and say what were they intending to do to being with. Were those well targeted? Were those well defined and were they likely to be successful from the outset? That can be debated. Of course we’ll never know. We can only see that through hindsight. I would say the next generation we’re already seeing examples of that with Blue Belt as an example, and of course Mako prior to them. There are successes happening now, and I think those successes will far outpace the failures. And I think the market is getting it right.
JP: Couldn’t agree more. And fundamentally, there’s no question. No matter how you look at it, robotics is very capital intensive, right, so even if you have an incremental robotics technology, it still takes a lot of time and money to develop it to the point where it’s ready for the marketplace. And one of the challenges that companies I think have faced is getting up the pressure to start having sales and revenue to start paying for that R&D, which means you get burdened with installed base and customer maintenance challenges before you have really, really finished the product. So that’s one of the lessons learned. So obviously, if you’re Google, J&J with Verb, and capital is almost unlimited, you can certainly aim very high and do comprehensive systems. But it seems to us that the trend is going to be more toward incremental robotics applications that really don’t try to replace the human, but try to do what the human does, certain aspects of that, better, faster, more reproducibly, and so on.
ET: And I think that remember, it wasn’t that long ago, maybe 5 years, that we were justifying the use of robotics in procedures right? Intuitive was doing well, but really that was it. So now do we bring these expensive technologies in? I don’t think we have to justify the use of robotics now. What we have to justify is the use of the right application, the application that’s difficult, the application that has improved clinical results, the applications that’s efficient, not just start throwing things at walls like some of the robotics companies that are out there are doing today, and see if it sticks, then you’re going to try to go out and sell it to the market because it’ll never fly.
TS: So Paul, as a VC, you could see robotics as being one of those big ticket items that isn’t necessarily in vogue as we try to be less capital intensive. However, there are ways to do it where you’re very targeted in these robotics. Is that a space – is it a technology you’re still looking to make investments?
PL: Well, we obviously are an active investor with TransEnterix. But as an example of its capital intensity, we did a reverse merger, and then an up-listing to the New York Stock Exchange, and now we raised money through the public markets because that’s the kind of platform that it’s unlikely you could start today and bring all the way through on VC backing alone. I gave Scott Huennekens a hard time because he’s running a startup, but the combined market cap of his two sponsors is $897 billion. And somehow, he’s making it work. But listen, it doesn’t take that kind of capital, but that may be only barely sufficient for what their mission is. So it is capital intensive, it’s very difficult to find, I think, the perfect match between that mission and a venture backed approach. It may require strategic partnering early on. Certainly many of the strategics are making bets. I think that’s indicative of the space and the capital requirements.
TS: Yeah, let’s talk about the appetite of the two strategics. Eric, do you see like a deal like Medtronic Mazor? Is that something that you say, Oh, great, there we go; we see some interest from a strategic like Medtronic? Or does it close doors in a way?
ET: Yeah, so my personal take is it was interesting, and it was an interesting decision to go that route from both sides. Obviously Mazor needs some investment, and now you’ve got a partner that’s going to throw a bunch of units out into the field, which I think is good. That locks them out, though, now. So I don’t know what happens and where they can go from here. But I do know that again, where they sit right now, that looks pretty good on paper, probably, because as John said, it’s a very capital intensive research and development investment that needs to keep moving to better the technology. So let’s hope it works.
TS: And John, final question. Do you see a number of potential exit opportunities in this growing field of strategics?
JP: We do, we do. The space is not unlimited because it takes a lot of capital just to even get into the atrial fibrillation market. But there’s definitely a lot of interest in this technology because it’s not just technology for technology’s sake. It’s really solving real-world problems, right, and so making the doctor’s life easier, making the procedures more reproducible, expanding the market by letting more physicians being able to use the technology are all logical, attractive things that strategics care about.
TS: Terrific. And with that, we’ll wrap up and I’ll say thank you for joining the podcast.
ET: Thank you, Tom.
JP: Thank you. My pleasure.
TS: All right, well, that was our robotics panel. I hope you enjoyed that conversation. It certainly still remains an exciting technology, one that’s evolving as we speak, and will be interesting to watch going forward. Thank you to everyone who attended the Medtech Conference on Wednesday. We heard so many kind words from folks who really found it to be almost a testimony to how medtech is surviving and thriving. The mood was very upbeat, and that was because we had many people in the room who were simply finding ways to get the job done. So thank you to everyone who came out, our panelists, thank you to our facilitators for keeping us on track. And thanks of course to our co-chairs and our advisory boards, our co-chairs Justin Klein and Kevin Hykes. They did an outstanding job. And as I announced at the panel at the end of the day yesterday, which we’ll have up on medtechconference.com, very happy to be joined next year by Stacy Enxing Seng of Lightstone. She will be our new co-chair along with Kevin Hykes. And we’re already plotting our next event. So please sign up for the Medtech Talk Podcast. Keep listening to this Podcast, and tune in next week for another tale of innovation. Take care.