TransEnterix CEO Todd Pope In Time's Health Care Top 50

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Todd M. Pope, president and CEO of TransEnterix Inc. (NYSE American: TRXC), a Morrisville medical device company that makes minimally invasive robotic surgical systems, has been named to Time magazine’s 50 Most Influential People in Health Care for 2018.

Pope is cited on Time’s inaugural list of influential health care people for his role as one of the leaders whose work is transforming the field. Time said that while TransEnterix is “still the new kid on the block,” with only about 20 systems currently in use compared to competitor Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci system with 4,400. But Time said, “It promises to shake up the robotic-surgery market by introducing high-tech advances, including cameras that track surgeons’ eye movements as they operate, and haptic feedback that helps doctors feel out what the robotic arms are doing.”

Todd Pope
Todd Pope  -- TransEnterix photos

“Being named one of Time magazine’s 50 Most Influential People in Health Care for 2018 is a tremendous honor,” Pope said in a statement. “It’s humbling to be recognized alongside other talented, boundary-pushing individuals across the spectrum of health care. This recognition reflects the efforts of our global team at TransEnterix who work every day to deliver innovative solutions that help surgeons achieve better outcomes for their patients.”

In an interview with the Biotech Center, Pope said, “It really is an honor when you look at that list with so many titans of the health care industry. It’s an incredible list of people making a big difference in the industry.”

Pope said it is not only a “really positive endorsement” for what the company is doing with the Senhance Surgical System, but also for the Research Triangle region. “When I started the company ten years ago,” he said, “people told me I should be in Silicon Valley or Boston. But I said we could recruit all the talent we need right here. And that proved to be the case.”

He added, “I care a lot about the Triangle and the North Carolina region. I grew up here. My family is here. I started a company here. We have so much potential for growth.” He said he’s getting calls from major U.S. and global media for interviews related to the list. “It’s another feather in our cap for our company and the area,” he said.

Senhance system including monitor
Senhance system including monitor

The Senhance system digitizes robotic laparoscopy, in which a fiber-optic instrument is inserted through a minimally invasive cut to view internal organs. Pope said the system is used primarily for general surgery, gynecological and colorectal


The company says it also addresses the clinical and economic challenges of the current laparoscopy and robotic options in today’s cost-sensitive health care environment, another factor TIME cites. “It costs about 75 percent less per procedure than current robotic systems,” Pope said, which can make a big difference, allowing a company to use new technology at an affordable cost.

Close-up view of Senhance
Close-up view of Senhance arms

Time notes the system can cost up to $2 million, but has “budget-friendly features such as re-usable instruments that rarely need to be replaced and open-source technology that works with hospitals’ existing equipment.”

Pope told Time, “It’s not just good enough to introduce some interesting technology that can benefit patients. It also has to fit within a constrained budget environment.” 

As CEO, Pope sets the company’s strategic vision and oversees its continuing growth. Prior to TransEnterix, Pope held key leadership roles for 25 years in the medical device industry. He was worldwide president of Cordis, a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson’s medical device sector. He also held a number of other senior leadership positions within Johnson & Johnson and with Boston Scientific.

In its third quarter outlook for 2018, the company said it expects sales to drive revenue of approximately $5.4 million, better than analyst expectations. Its next earnings call is November 8.

In late September, the company acquired Israel-based MST Medical Surgeries Technology Ltd. TransEnterix expects to close that acquisition during the next quarter. The acquisition will give the company a new, ready-to-use R&D center in Israel. Pope had also said TransEnterix hopes to use MST’s software to improve the efficiency of Senhance for surgeons.

Allan Maurer, NCBiotech Writer
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