On September 20, Medtronic announced a definitive agreement to acquire Israel-based Mazor Robotics for $1.6bn, with the acquisition expected to close in Q3 of Medtronic’s FY2019. This deal is the culmination of a nearly two-and-a-half-year partnership for the two companies.

Medtronic and Mazor originally signed a multi-phase strategic partnership in May 2016 for co-promotion and co-development, as well as eventual distribution, of a selection of Mazor’s products. Medtronic made further investments in Mazor, reaching a total of $72m, or an 11% stake, in August 2017. Also at this time, the companies expanded their agreement and Medtronic became the exclusive global distributor of the Mazor X Surgical Assurance platform. Since then, more than 80 Mazor X systems have been installed around the world.

Mazor’s Renaissance and Mazor X platforms aim to improve outcomes for spinal and neurosurgical procedures.

Both platforms incorporate the company’s Mazor Core technology; the Renaissance system acts as a preoperative planning and intraoperative guidance system, while the Mazor X platform goes a step further and includes a surgical arm with a surgeon control panel. With the acquisition of Mazor, Medtronic aims to provide a fully integrated platform of spinal solutions, while Mazor will benefit from improved geographic reach and additional sales channels. The acquisition will also allow Medtronic to compete more readily with Globus Medical and Zimmer Biomet, which market the ExcelsiusGPS and ROSA Spine robotic spinal surgery systems, respectively.

According to GlobalData, more than three million spinal fusion procedures were performed around the world in 2017, with nearly 25% of those procedures performed in a minimally invasive manner. As the adoption of minimally invasive spinal surgery (MIS) continues to grow, the market for robotic spinal surgeries is also expected to expand. As the leader in the global spine market, Medtronic has extensive cross-selling capabilities that can be harnessed to market Mazor’s robotic surgical systems. Additionally, in the future Medtronic could utilize Mazor’s technology to create an updated platform that uniquely works with its own spinal implants and instrumentation, driving further market dominance.