Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Doctor's Robot Will See You Now (IRBT)

I've mentioned I played Devils Advocate when a partner pitched Intuitive Surgical. I was overruled and ISRG went from $15 to a bit over $300. It's trading around $500 now.

Another medical-robotics company we've looked at but not mentioned on the blog is MAKO Surgical.
It has had a couple waterfall declines in the last few months:
Chart forMAKO Surgical Corp. (MAKO)

Splits: none

The  departure of a director and the VP of sales and a slowdown in the company's growth were blamed..
Not a fun ride but maybe it smooths out .

Here's the latest entrant, via MIT's Technology Review:

Redefining bedside manner: The RP-VITA for telemedicine is being tested in three hospitals.
Credit: iRobot
Even technically savvy doctors would rather not spend a half an hour or more learning how to navigate a robot with a joy stick. A new robot from InTouch Health and iRobot is designed to make telemedicine as easy as pressing an iPad screen.

Called the RP-VITA, the robot uses an iPad as the primary user interface for doctors to remotely diagnose and treat hospital patients. Its makers hope the simpler operation will broaden the use of robots for telemedicine, similar to how the graphical user interface turbo-charged personal computer use.

RP-VITA will be unveiled on Friday at InTouch's annual conference and the company expects to have the telenavigation feature approved by the FDA in the fourth quarter this year. The five-foot-four robot, which weighs 140 pounds and moves around on three wheels, can automatically swivel so the videoconferencing screen faces voices. The pedestal-like machine also has ports for medical devices, such as a stethoscope and ultrasound.

InTouch Health's specialty is remote-controlled robots for critical care, enabling people to be seen by doctors sooner than if they had to b in the same physical space as the physician. Getting a stroke victim, for example, to a specialist within three hours for diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference to the patient. Similarly, specialists can provide care in intensive care units without having to physically be present, which should lower health care costs and improve care. ...MORE
You may know iRobot for their robotic vacuum cleaner, Roomba.
InTouch is VC and PE backed and has four investocritters on the board, usually a bad sign but maybe not in this case.
IRBT also has $6 mi. invested in InTouch.