Johnson & Johnson (J&J), through its subsidiary Ethicon, has signed a definitive agreement to buy surgical robotics maker Auris Health for a cash consideration of around $3.4bn.

The deal also includes contingent payments of up to $2.35bn, based on predetermined milestones.

Auris Health develops robotic technologies and has a strong focus on lung cancer. Its portfolio includes the Monarch Platform, which is currently used in bronchoscopic diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved platform is said to feature robotics along with micro-instrumentation, an endoscope design, sensing and data science.

“The company added that the Monarch robotic technology will support its Lung Cancer Initiative and allow development of a differentiated digital solution to help patients with lung cancer.”

J&J expects the deal to drive its entry into the robotics markets and provide opportunities for expansion into additional interventional applications.

Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices executive vice-president and worldwide chairman Ashley McEvoy said: “In this new era of health care, we’re aiming to simplify surgery, drive efficiency, reduce complications and improve outcomes for patients, ultimately making surgery safer.

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“We believe the combination of best-in-class robotics, advanced instrumentation and unparalleled end-to-end connectivity will make a meaningful difference in patient outcomes.”

The company added that the Monarch robotic technology will support its Lung Cancer Initiative and allow development of a differentiated digital solution to help patients with lung cancer.

Lung cancer is responsible for the most cancer-related deaths in both men and women. Around 45,500 people are diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK and symptoms of the condition are usually not apparent until the cancer has spread in the lungs or to other parts of the body.

In addition, Auris Health technology is intended to accelerate J&J’s strategy for the continuum of surgical approaches such as open, laparoscopic, robotic and endoluminal procedures.

Auris Health founder and CEO Frederic Moll said: “We’re thrilled to be joining Johnson & Johnson to help push the boundaries of what is possible in medical robotics and improve the lives of patients across the globe.

“Together, we will be able to dramatically accelerate our collective product innovation to develop new interventional solutions that redefine optimal patient outcomes.”

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is set to be completed by the end of the second quarter of this year.

It complements J&J’s Verb Surgical joint venture with Google sister company Verily Life Sciences.

Verb Surgical is engaged in developing a comprehensive surgical solutions platform based on robotics and medical device technology.

In February last year, J&J acquired another surgical robotics firm Orthotaxy, which is based in France.

J&J is also currently working on developing a connected digital ecosystem that will use robotic technology and data to enhance patient outcomes.

The ecosystem will be designed to allow patients to take charge of their health, provide guidance for surgeons, and enable healthcare systems to offer consistent procedures and manage costs.

Additional reporting by Charlotte Edwards.