J&J is looking to begin clinical trials for its OTTAVA robotic platform in 2024.

J&J seeks to begin clinical trials for OTTAVA robotic platform in 2024

November 16, 2023
by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter
Johnson & Johnson MedTech, which comprises the company’s surgery, orthopedics, vision, and interventional solutions businesses, has set its sights on beginning clinical trials for its OTTAVA robotic system, saying that it will submit the application to the FDA in the second half of 2024 for an investigational device exemption (IDE) designation to do so.

OTTAVA has four robotic arms built into a standard-size surgical table that opens up space for clinicians to move around and creates more flexibility by making it possible to reposition patients without interrupting procedures.

It also uses Ethicon surgical instruments, which are designed to enhance device-to-tissue and user-to-device interactions and reduce variability between traditional laparoscopic and robotic procedures.

“As surgeons, we need space to improve the workflow in the OR, increase safety, and enable 360-degree patient access so we can perform at the capacity that we would like to. OTTAVA offers a unique design that incorporates into any OR,” said Dr. Eduardo Parra-Davila, a colorectal and general surgeon at the Palm Beach Digital Institute, in a statement.

The solution’s twin motion feature aligns the movement of the table and robotic arms, allowing clinicians to adjust a patient’s position without altering workflow. The arms can be used when necessary or stowed under the table, freeing up space and allowing for workflows to be adjusted based on individual patient needs.

According to Reuters, the dominant player in the surgical robotics market is Intuitive, with its da Vinci system. J&J entered the market in 2019 with its $3.4 billion acquisition of endoscopy robot designer Auris. That same year, it bought out its partner Verily in their joint venture, Verb Surgical.

Earlier this year, the company cut 350 positions from both companies following delays in bringing a solution designed by both together to the market. Days later, CFO Joe Wolk said there was a “sense of urgency” for the company to get ahead in the robotic surgical market, reported news outlet InvestorPlace.

“We have to get better with the soft tissue robot, Ottava. Our board is actually going out to visit that platform later this year,” he said at the time.

J&J also recently announced in a Q3 earnings call that it would be pulling out of certain markets and scaling back product lines it deemed “less profitable” within its DePuy Synthes orthopedics business, as part of a two-year restructuring of the entire division that is expected to cost $700 million to $800 million.

Once commercially available, OTTAVA will be sold alongside Johnson & Johnson MedTech’s other robotic systems, including the MONARCH Platform for bronchoscopy and the VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution for orthopedics.

The OTTAVA robotic system is currently in development and not available for sale or use anywhere.