TransEnterix sells first surgical robot in Italy

TransEnterix sold its first ALF-X robot to Humanitas Hospital in Italy.
TransEnterix sold its first ALF-X robot to Humanitas Hospital in Italy. Courtesy of TransEnterix

Morrisville robotics company TransEnterix has sold its first surgical robot, announcing the deal Monday, nearly four months after U.S. regulators rejected the company’s surgical technology in this country.

TransEnterix sold its ALF-X robot to Humanitas Hospital in Italy, which had been testing the system for about a year when it decided to purchase it. TransEnterix did not disclose a price for the sale but analysts have estimated one ALF-X costs between $1.5 million and $2 million.

The sale marks TransEnterix’s first revenue from robotics, and the company said it’s on track to file an application with the Food and Drug Administration this year to have the ALF-X system approved for sale in this country. TransEnterix spent $100 million last year to acquire the ALF-X technology, which is approved in Europe for general surgery, gynecology, urology and thoracic surgery.

In April, the FDA stunned TransEnterix by rejecting the company’s application to sell another surgical robot, the SurgiBot, in this country. The FDA decision forced the company to shift its focus to the ALF-X.

Raymond James Equity Research analyst Lawrence Keusch said in a research note that TransEnterix is expected to sell three ALF-X systems in Europe this year. The ALF-X is under evaluation by 18 European hospitals, Keusch wrote.

TransEnterix is seeking to break into a surgical robotics market that has been dominated by a single technology, called the da Vinci system, for more than 15 years.

TransEnterix stock was lifted by the ALF-X news, rising from $1.30 a share to $1.58 Tuesday. The shares had peaked at $5.69 in April before the FDA ruled against Surgibot.

Despite the FDA rejection, the SurgiBot remains under development, and TransEnterix is expected to provide a SurgiBot update Friday when the company announces second-quarter earnings.

TransEnterix employs about 75 people in Morrisville and about 25 in Europe.

John Murawski: 919-829-8932, @johnmurawski