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Johnson & Johnson tries to buy surgical robotics firm: sources 

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Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the world's largest maker of healthcare products, is pursuing an acquisition of Auris Health Inc in a deal that would bring it cutting-edge surgical robotics technology, people with knowledge of the matter said.

[HONG KONG] Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the world's largest maker of healthcare products, is pursuing an acquisition of Auris Health Inc in a deal that would bring it cutting-edge surgical robotics technology, people with knowledge of the matter said.

J&J is seeking to purchase Auris at a premium to the valuation from its latest funding round, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. That financing valued the Redwood City, California-based company at about US$2 billion, one person said.

Auris has raised more than US$700 million from investors, including a US$220 million equity financing round led by Partner Fund Management that was announced in November. Lux Capital, Viking Global Investors and billionaire Peter Thiel's Mithril Capital Management are also among its backers.

The closely held company, led by industry veteran Fred Moll, has developed robotic surgical scopes operated with a handheld device similar to a video game controller. The flexible tubes are steered into a patient's lungs, where they can be used to identify cancerous tumors.

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No final agreements have been reached, and there's no certainty the deliberations will lead to a sale of Auris, the people said. Representatives for J&J and Auris declined to comment.

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