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Mazor Robotics Ltd (MZOR), Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG): The Future of Robotic Spinal Surgery is Here

When one attempts to forecast future tech trends, grandiose visions of 3D printers, self-driving cars, augmented reality glasses, and smart-watches appear rather easily.

What if we told you that there’s one technology, though, that can outclass all of these heavily hyped devices, and that the recently NASDAQ-listed small cap Mazor Robotics Ltd. – American Depositary Shares (NASDAQ:MZOR) could become a major player?

We’re talking about robotic surgery, also known as Medical Robotics and Computer-Assisted Surgery (MRCAS). According to BCC Research, the global MRCAS market grew by double-digit percentage points last year, and surpassed $2 billion in global sales.

Major players

Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)A technology that originally began to be used in the 1980s, there are relatively few well-known publicly traded players in the robotic surgery space, most importantly Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG). With a $15.55 billion market cap, Intuitive Surgical is on the collective radar screen of most mainstream investors, while MAKO Surgical Corp. (NASDAQ:MAKO) offers a smaller, but far less volatile, option.

Mazor Robotics, meanwhile, sports a market cap slightly above $200 million and is up nearly 32% since going public in late May 2013. Known for its ability to produce devices capable of robotic spinal surgery, it’s this specialty that sets Mazor Robotics Ltd. – American Depositary Shares (NASDAQ:MZOR) apart in the minds of many investors.

Mazor’s Renaissance Guidance System offers spinal surgeons one of the only ways to conduct minimally invasive surgeries and implant procedures, while robotic brain surgery is another selling point down the line for many shareholders.

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG)’s da Vinci system, on the other hand, offers medical professionals a wide variety of techniques at their disposal, from prostatectomy procedures to those of gynecologic nature. The da Vinci system can even be used to repair heart valve function, and according to the MIT Technology Review, an “Si” version costs around $2 million.

Mako Surgical is focused more on joint surgeries, specifically concerning knee and hip operations, and its RIO Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System is considered the “da Vinci of orthopedics,” so to speak. Mako’s RESTORIS implants also give the company another revenue driver, and it does dabble in 3-D imaging, similar to Mazor Robotics.

How can investors profit from this promising industry?

From an investing standpoint, we’ve talked to hedge fund manager Dr. Michael Castor of Sio Capital Management a couple times over the past few months (see his favorite healthcare picks here), and his thoughts on Mazor Robotics Ltd. – American Depositary Shares (NASDAQ:MZOR) are worth paying attention to. According to Castor, Mazor Robotics is a relatively simple investment story.

In his words, “Mazor’s robot allows for shorter [spinal] operations, higher accuracy, and less blood loss. It allows for easier minimally invasive surgery in an area of the body with very complex anatomy. The result should be better patient care and greater patient satisfaction. Our initial checks suggest excellent feedback on the Renaissance robotic platform. Mazor is in the early stage of launching its robot. We believe the launch will accelerate.”

If you’re curious why you should invest in Mazor even if you’ve probably never heard of it, Castor says, “Mazor has been under the radar screen of many investors in part because, despite being headquartered in Florida, the company’s shares traded only on the Tel Aviv stock exchange in Israel.”

The hedge fund manager added that “on May 29, MZOR shares began trading on the Nasdaq,” and that “this should not only help drive awareness of the company, it will allow US investors to own MZOR.”

According to Castor, “the main risk for investing in Mazor is commercial execution.” He says that “even with a great product, the company needs to generate physician awareness and demand for its products,” adding that his team expects this to happen over the long term, and that Mazor’s “current stock price offers a compelling entry point for investors.”

We’ll be watching Mazor Robotics Ltd. – American Depositary Shares (NASDAQ:MZOR) very closely, but when it comes to robotic surgery, you’d be best served by following Mazor along with Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG) and MAKO Surgical.

Disclosure: none

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