The two companies have entered into a strategic collaboration to bring together their capabilities, intellectual property and expertise to create a robotic-assisted surgical platform, according to an announcement on Friday. Google and Ethicon hope to develop robotic tools and capabilities that integrate advanced robotic systems, imaging and data analytics, Johnson & Johnson said.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015 and is subject to regulatory clearance and other customary conditions, according to a news release.
Johnson & Johnson will be responsible for the robotics and surgical systems while Google will provide expertise in areas such as machine vision, imaging and sensors, a Google spokeswoman said. Google owns several robotic firms, but the spokeswoman said this deal is unrelated to other efforts.
Google is exploring how advanced imaging and sensors can make surgeons' work easier and more accurate in the operating room, the spokeswoman said. The company intends to use some of its machine vision and image analysis software to help surgeons see better while they operate, such as by highlighting blood vessels.
The collaboration will also look at how to consolidate the multiple screens of information that surgeons view in the OR, Google said. Engineers are considering the ability of advanced software to overlay this information on top of the interface where a surgeon is already viewing a robotic-assisted operation.
Johnson & Johnson stock was relatively unmoved by the news Friday morning, as were shares of Intuitive Surgical, the maker of the da Vinci surgical robot.