Smith & Nephew Ink Robotic Surgical Deal with Blue Belt Tech - Analyst Blog


U.K.-based global medical device company Smith & Nephew plc ( SNN ) has recently signed a new commercial contract with Blue Belt Technologies (BBT), a robotics-assisted surgical technology company. As a result of this agreement, surgeons can now use BBT's Navio Orthopaedic Surgical Systems to implant Smith & Nephew's JOURNEY UNI partial knee.

Navio Surgical System

The Navio Surgical System is the next generation of orthopaedic robotic surgical navigation system that incorporates a patented technology. This technology offers surgeons precise robotic control through an intelligent, handheld, computer-assisted bone-cutting tool. The Navio system provides a safer and more accurate procedure to surgeons while performing orthopaedic surgeries through minimally invasive incisions.

The system provides robotics-assistance through proprietary CT-free navigation software and a unique hand-held computer-controlled bone shaping tool for partial knee replacements. Since its launch in Jan 2013 in the U.S., more than 450 Navio assisted partial knee replacement procedures have been performed.


Smith & Nephew's JOURNEY Unicompartmental (UNI) partial implant provides an advanced alternative to total knee replacement for patients who have a portion of their knees damaged due to osteoarthritis. Compared to traditional knee replacements, this partial knee allows patients to recover to a more normal and active lifestyle by keeping all the 4 major knee ligaments.

Moreover, this implant is made up of Smith & Nephew's proprietary OXINIUM alloy that combines the strength of metal with the wear-resistance functionality of ceramics. As a result, the rate of implant wear, a leading cause behind revision surgery, is less for those who are implanted with JOURNEY UNI.

According to reliable resources, healthcare economic studies show that partial knee replacement results in reduced costs for both patients and healthcare facilities, through decreased implant and procedure costs with less recovery time.

Mutually Beneficial Agreement

Both the companies are enthusiastic about the agreement and expect to gain more market share through the collaboration. It is also expected that the combination of JOURNEY UNI implant with Navio's robotic precision will simplify as well as enhance the partial knee replacement procedure.

A major complication of partial knee replacement surgery is the alignment and balance of the partial knee. Taking advantage of the Navio system, surgeons will now be able to reduce this problem.

The Navio system's advanced and interoperative operation will guide surgeons while placing the implant and balancing the knee to deliver consistent results. Moreover, these two technologies will reduce overall healthcare costs as it does not require the additional time and expense of preoperative CT images and is far less expensive.

Zacks Rank

Currently, Smith & Nephew holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked medical product stocks that warrant a look include OraSure Technologies, Inc. ( OSUR ), Hospira Inc. ( HSP ) and Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. ( CSII ). While OraSure sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Cardiovascular Systems and Hospira hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) each. 

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: BBT , SNN , HSP , OSUR , CSII

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