J&J to buy robotic surgery startup Auris Health for $3.4B

Johnson & Johnson will shell out $3.4 billion in cash to buy robotic surgery company Auris Health, CNBC reports. 

The purchase gives J&J access to the robotics industry, building on its existing partnership with Alphabet's Verily. Auris Health makes a controller-operated robotic camera that helps surgeons get visuals from within the body.

J&J said the acquisition will help create a "connected digital ecosystem" that uses data and robotic technology to help surgeons improve outcomes.

"In this new era of healthcare, we're aiming to simplify surgery, drive efficiency, reduce complications and improve outcomes for patients, ultimately making surgery safer," said Ashley McEvoy, company group chair of consumer medical devices, in a news release.

J&J is split into three main units: pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer products. The medical device business has been struggling, with sales falling 4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018. The healthcare company vowed to improve performance during the fourth quarter earnings call through acquisitions and divestitures.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

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