Medtronic buys French AI-enabled spinal surgery company Medicrea

Medicrea's tools are designed to help surgeons with planning operations and to create personalized implants.
By Laura Lovett
12:10 pm
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Medicrea's platform examples on a smartphone screen and a computer monitor

Medtronic has acquired French artificial intelligence company Medicrea, marking the med-tech-device company’s seventh acquisition this year. Medicrea specializes in using AI for surgical planning, as well as digitally constructed spinal implants and robotic assisted surgery.  

The technology employs predictive modeling and algorithms to measure and digitally reconstruct a patient’s spine. According to the announcement, the platform, called UNiD ASI, was built on a database of around 6,000 surgical cases, which in turn will be used to help surgeons visualize permutations before the surgery and for planning purposes. The platform is also able to use predictive modeling to help doctors identify potential outcomes and problems. 

This acquisition has been in the works for months. In July the companies announced a friendly voluntary all-cash tender offer for €7.00 per Medicrea share. After this offer, Medtronic owed 90% of the company’s shares and voting rights, and it is now requesting an implementation of a squeeze-out procedure by French law.

WHY IT MATTERS 

This news deepens Medtronic’s focus on the spinal care space. It will now be integrating Medicrea’s technology into its Spine at Medtronic division. The company has previously built out this division with its acquisition of Mazor Robotics, Titan Spine and Adaptix Interbody System. 

"By offering clinicians one of the most innovative, ground-breaking technologies, Medtronic is redefining spine procedures to help reduce variability and improve outcomes, with the ultimate goal of restoring long-term quality of life for more patients," Jacob Paul, president of the Cranial & Spinal Technologies operating unit at Medtronic, said in a statement.

"Medtronic now becomes the first company to be able to offer an integrated solution including artificial intelligence driven surgical planning, personalized spinal implants and robotic assisted surgical delivery, which puts the power of these smart technologies directly into the hands of clinicians to make patient care more tailored and personalized."

THE LARGER TREND

Medtronic is one of the bigger companies in the med tech space. While it may be growing out its spinal care space, another area where it is employing digital is diabetes. 

In August Medtronic announced it was buying smart-insulin-pen-maker Companion Medical. Then last week Medtronic launched its new subsidiary’s INPen device alongside its Guardian Connect glucose monitoring system. 

Medtronic has been in the diabetes space for years. Its primary involvement has been in the CGM space. Its MiniMed 670G was the first FDA-cleared CGM that could automate insulin delivery as part of a closed-loop system. It has since launched different versions of the technology. 

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