US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is acquiring a robotics company which specialises in developing surgical tools for diagnosing and treating patients with lung cancer.
The company announced that it has agreed to buy Auris Heath for $3.4bn (£2.6bn) in cash, plus an additional $2.4bn in payouts if it reaches certain milestones.
Auris Health developed a robotic scope used to monitor patients’ lungs in order to better diagnose and treat lung cancer, which received regulatory approval in the US last year.
Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer with a over 2 million cases each year and 1.76 million deaths globally, World Health Organisation has reported.
The privately held company was founded by Dr Fred Moll, who started his first company in the field in 1995.
Dr Moll is widely recognised as a pioneer of surgical robotics, having cofounded Intuitive Surgical, which created the da Vinci robotic system for laparoscopic surgery. The device, which consists of four robotic arms, is controlled by a human operator.
Johnson & Johnson is expected to invest almost $12bn in healthcare robotics by 2023.