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Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG) is the global technology leader in robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery (MIS). The Company's da Vinci® Surgical System offers surgeons superior 3D HD visualization, enhanced dexterity, greater precision and ergonomic comfort for the optimal performance of MIS. The da Vinci System enables surgeons to perform even complex procedures such as heart valve and cancer surgery through 1-2 cm incisions.
This breakthrough is allowing hospitals everywhere to extend the benefits of MIS to a broader base of patients. An investment in an MIS initiative built around the da Vinci Surgical System can provide hospitals with greater return in the areas of market share growth, utilization mix, productivity and operational efficiencies. Improved operational efficiencies may result in reduced incidence of complications and post-operative infections; reduced need for blood transfusions and post-operative pain management, simplified post-operative nursing care and reduced length of stay.
The original prototype for Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci System was developed in the late 1980s at the former Stanford Research Institute under contract to the U.S. Army. While initial work was funded in the interest of developing a system for performing battlefield surgery remotely, possible commercial applications were even more compelling: It was clear to those involved that this technology could accelerate the application of a minimally invasive surgical approach to a broader range of procedures.
In 1995, Intuitive Surgical was founded to test this theory. In January 1999, Intuitive launched the da Vinci Surgical System, and in 2000, it became the first robotic surgical system cleared by the FDA for general laparoscopic surgery. In the following years, the FDA cleared the da Vinci Surgical System for thoracoscopic (chest) surgery, for cardiac procedures performed with adjunctive incisions, urologic and gynecologic procedures.
In June 2000, Intuitive Surgical conducted a successful initial public offering. In 2003, the Company acquired its principal competitor Computer Motion, strengthening its intellectual property holdings and ensuring its position as the world's sole provider of robotic-assisted surgical systems.
Since its first da Vinci System shipment, Intuitive Surgical has expanded its installed base to more than 900 academic and community hospital sites, while sustaining growth in excess of 25% annually.
Today, over 1000 da Vinci Systems are installed in hospitals worldwide. As of December 31, 2007, Intuitive Surgical held exclusive field-of-use as well as non-exclusive licenses for over 200 U.S. patents and over 90 foreign patents, and owned outright over 140 US patents and over 60 foreign patents. In addition to developing its own proprietary technologies, Intuitive Surgical has established relationships with several industry leaders including IBM Corporation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Heartport, Inc. (Johnson & Johnson). The Company has also entered into industry collaborations with companies including Ethicon Endo-Surgery (Johnson & Johnson), Medtronic and Olympus Optical.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, Intuitive Surgical has more than 930 employees in offices worldwide. Revenue for the year ending December 31, 2007 totaled $600.8 million, increasing 61% from $372.7 million for the year ending December 31, 2006. The da Vinci Prostatectomy procedure is currently the fastest-growing treatment for prostate cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men.