Medtronic Hugo robot-assisted surgery system

Medtronic’s Hugo robot-assisted surgery system [Image courtesy of Medtronic]

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) Chairman & CEO Geoff Martha confirmed that the launch of the Hugo surgical robot platform is slightly off-schedule.

Speaking on the company’s second-quarter earnings call today, Martha said the launch of the platform, which the company has developed to challenge Intuitive Surgical in the surgical robotics space, is “not on-schedule but not off-track” at this stage.

Hugo received CE mark approval last month and the company is gearing up to conduct its FDA investigational device exemption (IDE) clinical trials in the U.S., with more on the company’s stateside efforts still to come, President of Medtronic’s surgical robotics business, Megan Rosengarten, told MDO recently.

The launch that followed is currently in what Martha called a “limited-release phase” as the company focuses on optimizing user experience as it deals with supply chain and manufacturing issues.

“It’s definitely not a demand issue,” Martha said on the earnings call. “Demand remains high — higher than we can fill at this point.”

The company is carrying on with regulatory filings around the world, working with its U.S. IDE trials and procedures are being conducted with Hugo, Martha said. Another executive noted on the call that complexities have come into play and the company should have provided more cushion to expectations for Hugo.

While Medtronic isn’t quantifying projections for next year, the company expects a healthy ramp-up for Hugo, planning for fiscal year 2023 to “be a strong year for the robot.”

“We’re focused on making sure the initial experiences with surgeons are really good,” Martha said. “That’s the reason for slower revenue this year, but we expect a really strong ramp next fiscal year.”