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Johnson & Johnson to Acquire Medical Device Maker NeuWave

CEO Alex Gorsky: "A Few Years From Now, No Dumb Instruments" Will Exist
J&J
Johnson & Johnson Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Consumer healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and its Ethicon subsidariy, are expected to acquire the medical device maker NeuWave Medical Inc., pending regulatory approval.

NeuWave, based in Madison, Wisconsin, has developed a proprietary system which uses microwave energy to remove abnormal soft tissue growth from the body.

Ethicon expects to complete the deal with NeuWave between April and June this year.

Financial terms of the deal have not been made public. The transaction is "subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions," according to a J&J press release.

Alex Gorsky, J&J's CEO since 2012, spoke last year about the business trends of the healthcare landscape, touching on the company's plan to grow through mergers and aquisitions.

But he also said that models in healthcare will change.

“I think the movement from a completely fee-for-service to one that focuses more on outcomes, more on episodes of care will also be a transition,” said Gorsky, adding that it will not happen overnight.

Gorsky said that people too often thought of “medical technology over here and Silicon Valley technology over here,” without connecting the two.

“And just as we've seen in … our life where our iPhone, our iPad is converging into other areas, I think we're going to see the same thing in medical device technology...  in consumer and pharma in different ways,” said Gorsky.

As an example Gorsky said he thought the ability to integrate sensing technology, and data aggregation technology, into instrumentation used in the medical field would lead to a time "a few years from now" when we won't have any "dumb instruments" or devices.

“All of the instruments will be smart instruments by the way that they are integrated into the operating room and connected in a number of different ways,” Gorsky said at the conference.

According to NeuWave’s website “Microwave energy is a platform that will continue to provide new innovative solutions for physicians and patients." Its ablation system “embodies clinical innovation and has been adopted by top cancer centers across the country." 

"We continue to work to push the boundaries of access and treatment for patients for whom traditional surgery may not be an option today," said Ethicon in a statement. 

“The market-leading technology and expertise that NeuWave Medical has developed is minimally invasive and can be combined with other therapies to improve outcomes for patients. Additionally, for healthcare systems, this offering can potentially translate to a lower overall financial burden.”

J&J and the life-sciences arm of Google Inc. formed an independent surgical solutions company last year to produce innovative and cost-effective robotic-assisted systems to aid surgeons.

“So I think it's still a few years off, but when I say a couple of years off, I'm not talking five years. And it's not something that we can necessarily see six months from now. But we're excited to be partnering with somebody like Google, who's got great know-how, [and] great IP (internet protocal)," said Gorsky.

"[To] leverage our clinical development experience, our regulatory experience and really bring that together in a way that if we try to do it ourselves, we'd be talking about five years."