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Coronavirus Ups the Game for Robotic Surgery: 3 Stocks on Radar

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The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the global economy throughout 2020. This was mirrored by the sharp surge in unemployment rates, erratic movement of benchmark indices and muted investor optimism.

With the resurgence of a fresh wave of coronavirus cases in the United States and across several European nations, emergence of new mutant strains and the possibility of a full-fledged renewed lockdown, markets remain tense. Also, the lack of clarity about the recently rolled-out vaccines on the severity of the new strains, is further adding to the woes.

On Mar 12, a historic $1.9-trillion stimulus package was signed by President Joe Biden into law with the main aim to boost the economy and mitigate the pandemic-borne crisis. Apart from further extension of unemployment benefits and housing assistance to name a few, the stimulus relief package includes funding of COVID-vaccine distribution.

According to multiple sources, Morgan Stanley projected 2021 US GDP growth of 7.3% while Goldman Sachs’ prediction is 6.9% (the fastest since 1984). This means that US GDP growth could rival or even exceed China’s figure.

The passing of the bill is likely to have a substantial impact on the MedTech space, with sectors like minimally invasive and robotic surgery, diagnostic testing and remote patient monitoring to likely receive a significant impetus.

Here we discuss the prospects of the robot-assisted surgery market, which is identified as one of the strategic areas investors are eyeing in MedTech.

Robotic Surgery Scenario

Amid the pandemic-led disruption, clinical advantages and the importance of robotic surgery gained much relevance/momentum, particularly in the prevalent scenario.The general benefits are enhanced patient outcomes and lower rates of conversion to laparotomy. Also, this type of surgery minimizes costs, reduces postoperative recovery time, immediate post-surgical pain and infection rates as well as lowers complication rates.

A major advantage of robot-assisted surgery, which is steadily helping amid the ongoing crisis, is the lower utilization of hospital resources. By opting for the robotic-assisted surgery route, people can be kept away from high-risk areas and exposure to the virus can be prevented.

Smith & Nephew’s SNN introduction of a hand-held robotic platform, the FDA-cleared Cori for knee replacement surgery (facilitating faster procedure times than its current Navio robotic system) deserves mention.

Also, Intuitive Surgical ISRG continues to show prowess with its robot-based da Vinci surgical system. In fourth-quarter 2020 and for the full year, da Vinci procedures grew 6% and 1% globally, respectively, resulting in 1.25 million procedures during 2020 despite the challenging environment stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, Intuitive Surgical placed 5,989 da Vinci surgical systems in the fourth quarter with the installed base growing 7% year over year.

3 Promising Robotic MedTech Stocks to Watch

Stryker Corporation SYK: The medical technology company continues to witness strong demand for the robotic-arm assisted surgery platform Mako on the back of its unique features and a healthy order book despite financial constraints induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. This, in turn, positions the company well to sustain momentum in robot sales and recon share market gains.

Last year, the company’s Mako install base saw 33% growth, and hit another milestone with more than 100 robots sold and installed in the December quarter. Therefore, the company continues to focus on continued expansion of Mako. This in fact growth reflects demand for Stryker’s differentiated Mako robotic technology.

For 2021, the company’s Mako order book remains solid and is in sync with its aim of a consistent stick upsurge owing to advancement in both hips and knees.The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Over the past year, shares of the company have soared 49.6% compared with the industry’s rally of 35.1%.

Accuray Incorporated ARAY: In October 2020, this presently Zacks #3 Ranked company inked a collaboration deal with Brainlab, a Germany-based market leader in digital surgery and precision radiotherapy. This will improve and broaden Accuray’s fully robotic stereotactic radiosurgery system, which is the CyberKnife platform.

The company continues gaining traction from the launch of CyberKnife S7 System, the next generation CyberKnife platform. For the second quarter of fiscal 2021, CyberKnife accounted for approximately 30% of the revenue unit volume and 45% of order unit volume. With respect to CyberKnife, the company saw a 17% unit volume increase year over year, driven by CyberKnife S7 orders in the Americas and the EMEA regions.

Over the past year, the stock has jumped 190.4% compared with its industry’s rally of 40.1%.

Medtronic plc MDT: The company continues to benefit from the February 2020 acquisition of Digital Surgery, a London-based privately-held leader in surgical AI, data and analytics, and digital education and training. The buyout of Digital Surgery strengthened Medtronic’s robotic-assisted surgery suite.With the momentum of Restorative Therapies Group’s MazorRobotics guidance platform, the company estimates to outsell its nearest competitor Globus within the spine robotics space.

Over the past six months, this currently #3 Ranked player’s shares have rallied 13.6% compared with its industry’s rally of 10.1%.

These Stocks Are Poised to Soar Past the Pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted consumer behavior dramatically, and a handful of high-tech companies have stepped up to keep America running. Right now, investors in these companies have a shot at serious profits. For example, Zoom jumped 108.5% in less than 4 months while most other stocks were sinking.

Our research shows that 5 cutting-edge stocks could skyrocket from the exponential increase in demand for “stay at home” technologies. This could be one of the biggest buying opportunities of this decade, especially for those who get in early.

See the 5 high-tech stocks now>>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

Stryker Corporation (SYK) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Smith & Nephew SNATS, Inc. (SNN) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Accuray Incorporated (ARAY) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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