Creation of the new company, Verb Surgical Inc, follows an announcement in March by J&J and Google Inc of their plans to pool their technologies and expertise to create robotics for the operating room. Google has since changed its name to Alphabet, and its life sciences unit is now called Verily.
J&J’s Ethicon division, world leader in equipment for general surgery, designed a basic prototype of the robot last year and expects it to be a “disruptive” alternative to existing products, Gary Pruden, global chairman of J&J’s medical devices group, said in an interview.
Current robotic systems, including those sold by market leader Intuitive Surgical Inc, are the size of a compact car and require the surgeon to sit at a control panel about 10 feet from the patient, Pruden said.
Verb’s robot will be about 20 percent the size, allow the surgeon to work closer to the patient and likely be considerably less expensive than current systems, which can cost $2 million or more, he said.