A Waltham medical technology firm that makes robots for precision vascular surgery has been bought by the health division of the German conglomerate Siemens for $1.1 billion.
The deal, which was announced in August and closed Tuesday, makes Corindus Vascular Robotics a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens Healthineers AG. The latter acquired all issued and outstanding stock of Corindus for $4.28 a share — a price a Minnesota stock portfolio manager characterized as a great deal for Siemens.
Corindus has 110 employees, according to its former chief executive and president, Mark Toland. In contrast to other acquisitions of local companies that result in layoffs, Toland said, Siemens plans to retain employees and expand operations in Waltham with hires of more mechanical and software engineers. He declined to specify how many.
“I’m thrilled that Siemens has decided to keep everything here,” said Toland, who will continue to manage the business within the parent company. “It’s exciting to continue what we’ve done to date and to accelerate it.”
Founded in 2002 in Israel by an interventional cardiologist and a health care executive, Corindus makes robots that can insert stents to open up blood vessels to the heart. Those vessels have been narrowed by fatty buildup as a result of coronary artery disease. The robots can be remotely operated by cardiologists.
Last December, five heart patients at the Apex Heart Institute in Ahmedabad, India, underwent such a procedure, also known as angioplasty, while the renowed cardiologist, Dr. Tejas M. Patel, operated a telerobot from a computer console 20 miles away at the historic Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar. A colleague of Patel’s was in the operating room with the patients.
Corindus described the procedure as the world’s first remote heart surgery.
It was featured in a recent article in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. The article, whose authors included Patel, a paid consultant for Corindus, said the operations illustrated that telerobotic heart surgery is manageable.
The technology could make it easier to perform surgery on patients who live in rural or remote locations where access to a heart surgeon is limited, according to the article.
In the past few weeks, Toland said, Corindus tested the telerobot in a simulated operation in San Francisco while the surgeon sat at a computer console in Boston.
“We don’t think geographic distance is the barrier,” said Toland, who added that the biggest challenge is making sure that the Internet connection is reliable.
He cited another advantage of performing robotic heart surgery remotely. Surgeons don’t have to stand next to an X-ray table that is commonly used during a cardiac procedure and thus will be exposed to less radiation.
Bernd Montag, the chief executive of Siemens Healthineers, based in Erlangen, Germany, was pleased to acquire Corindus.
“With the completion of the acquisition, we are opening up a new field for our Advanced Therapies business, tapping into adjacent growth markets with great potential for the future,” he said. Advanced Therapies is a unit of Siemens Healthineers.
But Brian Gahsman, portfolio manager for the AlphaCentric Robotics and Automation Fund, said he believes Siemens Healthineers paid too little for Corindus. Gahsman, based in Minneapolis, said Corindus is awaiting clearance soon from the Food and Drug Administration of a robot that can insert a stent in blood vessels in the brain to treat a stroke.
“It’s game-changing technology,” said Gahsman, who has invested in Corindus for clients and thinks they could have made a lot more money. “The stock would have been closer to $8 for the acquisition price.”
Siemens Healthineers has about 50,000 employees worldwide, most of them in Germany, and a market value of over $41 billion. The company’s products include imaging devices that combine positron emission tomography with CT scans and ultrasound devices.
Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at email@example.com