Google has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson-owned Ethicon to help create more advanced robotics technology for surgical use, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The Mountain View tech giant hopes to tackle the software side of the issue by creating machine vision technology to help doctors more easily guide and control surgical equipment.
Google has been pushing further into the areas of medicine, health, and fitness in recent years, with entire divisions in its Google X lab focused on creating technology like nanobots that can detect cancer. The Glass project has also been integrated into some surgical procedures and other medical applications.
The company has also started a robotics lab, previously headed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, built out of its 2013 acquisition of
Cyberdyne Systems Boston Dynamics and artificial intelligence makerDeepMind, though Google’s own robotics team likely won’t be involved in this deal.
Since the buyout, Boston Dynamics has debuted a number of new and updated automatons, though none on Google’s in-house machines seem particularly well-suited for performing surgery.The full press release from Johnson & Johnson can be found below:
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – March 26, 2015 – Johnson & Johnson today announced that Ethicon, a medical device company in the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, has executed a definitive agreement to enter into a strategic collaboration with Google, Inc., working with the Life Sciences team on advancing surgical robotics to benefit surgeons, patients and health care systems.
The companies will bring together capabilities, intellectual property and expertise to create an innovative robotic-assisted surgical platform capable of integrating advanced technologies with the goal of improving health care delivery in the operating room. The collaboration was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation in California.
Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that uses technology to give surgeons greater control, access and accuracy during the surgical procedure while benefitting patients by minimizing trauma and scarring, enabling accelerated post-surgical healing. The companies seek to develop new robotic tools and capabilities for surgeons and operating room professionals that integrate best-in-class medical device technology with leading-edge robotic systems, imaging and data analytics.
“For more than 60 years, Ethicon has developed products and technologies that have transformed the way surgery is done,” said Gary Pruden, Worldwide Chairman, Global Surgery Group, Johnson & Johnson. “This collaboration with Google is another important step in our commitment to advancing surgical care, and together, we aim to put the best science, technology and surgical know-how in the hands of medical teams around the world.”
The closing of the transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015. Financial terms were not disclosed.
About Johnson & Johnson Caring for the world one person at a time inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. We embrace research and science – bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Our approximately 126,500 employees at more than 265 Johnson & Johnson operating companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world.
About Ethicon From creating the first sutures, to revolutionizing surgery with minimally invasive procedures, Ethicon has made significant contributions to surgery for more than 60 years. Our continuing dedication to Shape the Future of Surgery is built on our commitment to help address the world’s most pressing health care issues, and improve and save more lives. Through Ethicon’s surgical technologies and solutions including sutures, staplers, energy devices, trocars and hemostats and our commitment to treating serious medical conditions like obesity and cancer worldwide, we deliver innovation to make a life-changing impact. Learn more at www.ethicon.com, and follow us on Twitter @Ethicon. Ethicon represents the products and services of Ethicon, Inc., Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. (the signing party) and certain of their affiliates.
Cautions Concerning Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding a potential collaboration with Google, Inc., related to the development of surgical robotic-assisted systems. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from the expectations and projections of Johnson & Johnson. Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the satisfaction of closing conditions for the transaction, including clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act; the possibility that the transaction will not be completed or, if completed, not completed in the expected timeframe; the potential that the expected benefits and opportunities may not be realized or may take longer to realize than expected; challenges and uncertainties inherent in new product development, including uncertainty of clinical success and obtaining regulatory approvals; competition, including technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges to patents; changes to applicable laws and regulations, including global health care reforms; adverse litigation or government action; changes in behavior and spending patterns or financial distress of purchasers of health care products and services; and trends toward health care cost containment. A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties and other factors can be found in Johnson & Johnson’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 28, 2014, including in Exhibit 99 thereto, and the company’s subsequent filings. Copies of these filings are available online atwww.sec.gov, www.jnj.com or on request from Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information or future events or developments.