Intuitive Surgical Inc   (ISRG)
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Intuitive Surgical Inc

Business Description

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. was founded in 1995. We are a Delaware corporation with our corporate headquarters located at 1266 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale, California 94086. Our telephone number is (408) 523-2100, and our website address is www.intuitivesurgical.com . In this report, “Intuitive Surgical,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Intuitive Surgical, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Intuitive®, da Vinci®, da Vinci®S™, TilePro™, Solo Surgery™, EndoWrist®, InSite®, AESOP®, HERMES®, ZEUS®, SOCRATES™ and Navigator™ are trademarks of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

We design, manufacture and market the da Vinci Surgical Systems, which are advanced surgical systems that we believe, represent a new generation of surgery. We believe that this new generation of surgery, which we call da Vinci surgery, is a revolutionary advancement similar in scope to previous generations of surgery—open surgery and minimally invasive surgery, or MIS. Our da Vinci Surgical Systems consist of a surgeon’s console, a patient-side cart, a high performance vision system and proprietary “wristed” instruments and surgical accessories. By placing computer-enhanced technology between the surgeon and patient, we believe that our systems enable surgeons to perform advanced MIS in a manner never before experienced. The da Vinci Surgical System controls Intuitive Surgical endoscopic instruments, including rigid endoscopes, blunt and sharp endoscopic dissectors, scissors, scalpels, forceps/pickups, needle holders, endoscopic retractors, electrocautery, ultrasonic cutters, and accessories during a wide range of surgical procedures. The da Vinci Surgical System seamlessly translates the surgeon’s natural hand movements on instrument controls at the console into corresponding micro-movements of instruments positioned inside the patient through small puncture incisions, or ports. Our da Vinci Surgical System provides the surgeon with the intuitive control, range of motion, fine tissue manipulation capability and 3-D vision characteristic of open surgery, while simultaneously allowing the surgeon to work through the small ports of MIS.

In March 1997, surgeons using an early prototype of our technology successfully performed the first da Vinci surgery on humans. In the second quarter of 1999, we began selling da Vinci products and services outside the United States. In July 2000, we obtained clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market our products in the United States for use in General laparoscopic procedures.

Our goal is to establish da Vinci surgery as the standard approach for complex surgical procedures, displacing both open surgical technique and standard MIS within this segment. We intend to accomplish this objective both by pioneering new types of endoscopic surgery and by making existing MIS procedures easier, safer and more cost-effective than the alternative methods. Our strategy is to broaden the number of procedures performed using the da Vinci Surgical System and to educate surgeons, hospitals and patients as to the benefits of da Vinci surgery.

Sales and Customer Support

We market our products through a direct sales force in the United States and parts of Europe. We also market our products outside the United States through distributors. Our direct sales force is comprised of sales managers, clinical sales representatives, training specialists, and technical service representatives. Sales activities include educating surgeons and hospital staff across multiple surgical specialties on the advantages of da Vinci surgery and the clinical applications that our technology enables. We also train our sales force to educate hospital management on the potential benefits of adopting our technology, including the potential for increased local market share that may result from offering da Vinci surgery. Once a hospital has installed a da Vinci Surgical System, our clinical sales representatives help drive the utilization of the system, and our technical service representatives provide service and maintenance for the system.


We consider our primary competition to be existing open surgery, MIS, drug therapies, radiation treatment and emerging interventional surgical approaches. Our success depends in part on convincing hospitals, surgeons and patients that the demonstrated benefits associated with da Vinci surgery are superior to other techniques. We also face competition from several companies that are developing new approaches and products for the MIS market. Because many of these developments are aimed at MIS, we believe that our da Vinci Surgical System may actually prove complementary to these new technologies.

In addition, a limited number of companies are using or planning to use robots and computers in surgery, including Armstrong Healthcare Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., MicroDexterity Systems, Inc., Sinters SA, Terumo Medical Corporation, and Toshiba, Inc. Our revenues may be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and market products that are more effective or less expensive than our products.

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