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Intuitive Surgical da Vinci SP Gets FDA Nod, Prospects Bright

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Intuitive Surgical, Inc. ISRG recently announced FDA clearance for the use of da Vinci SP surgical system in certain transoral otolaryngology procedures in adults. Surgeons can now utilize da Vinci SP robotic-assisted surgery to conduct radical tonsillectomy and tongue base resection. This fortifies Intuitive Surgical’s hold in the global robotic-surgery market.

However, post the announcement, shares of the Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company fell 0.4% to $558.21 at close.

It is encouraging to note that last month, the FDA granted 510(k) approval to Intuitive Surgical’s Ion endoluminal system to enable minimally-invasive biopsy in the peripheral lung. (Read More: Intuitive Surgical Gets FDA Nod for Ion Endoluminal System)

About da Vinci SP

Cleared for urology procedures by the FDA in 2018, the da Vinci SP system provides surgeons with robotic-assisted technology designed for deep and narrow access to tissue in the body. The system includes three, multi-jointed, wristed instruments and a fully wristed 3D HD camera.

Intuitive Surgical shipped 15 da Vinci SP systems in 2018 and a few hundred procedures have been performed to date.

Robotics Shaping Up MedTech

The use of AI and robotically-assisted medical devices has created a revolution, courtesy of rising need for precision in surgeries and a spur in research and development (R&D) activities by MedTech companies. Notably, R&D activity has been fueled by a 2.3% Medical Device tax suspension made in early 2018.

Per a Cision report, the global medical robotic systems market will see a CAGR of 20.5% by 2024.

Other key players in the robotic surgery market are Accuray Incorporated ARAY and Stryker Corporation SYK. Accuray’s fully robotic CyberKnife radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiation therapy systems and Stryker’s flagship Mako, a robotic-arm assisted surgery platform, are currently much in demand.

Price Performance

Over the past year, shares of Intuitive Surgical have rallied 30.7% compared with the industry’s 10.1% gain. The current level is also higher than the S&P 500 index’s 4.3% rally.

Key Pick

A better-ranked stock from the broader medical space is Veeva Systems VEEV.

Veeva Systems’ long-term earnings growth rate is projected at 14.8%. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

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