Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday it will spend nearly $3.5 billion to acquire Auris Health, a merger that will put the drug maker into the robotic medical business.
Johnson & Johnson said contingent payments of up to $2.35 billion, on top of the $3.4 billion merger cost, may be paid upon reaching "certain predetermined milestones."
"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," Moll said in a statement. "Together, we will be able to dramatically accelerate our collective product innovation to develop new interventional solutions that redefine optimal patient outcomes."
Auris founder Dr. Frederic Moll pioneered using robotic surgical scopes operated by a handheld device that can be guided into a patient's lungs to locate cancerous tumors.
Johnson & Johnson's stock rose in pre-market trading Wednesday and is up increased almost 4 percent since the start of 2019.
"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," Johnson & Johnson executive Ashley McEvoy said.
"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 merger is the most recent example of medical companies turning to robotic surgical technology. A subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson's medical device division partnered with Auris last May to develop integrated systems for robotic control, navigation and application of microwave ablation.