Asensus Is a Bet on the Push to Reduce Robotic Surgery Costs

Put simply, Asensus Surgical (NYSEAMERICAN:ASXC) is involved in the robotic-surgery industry. The company’s flagship product is its Senhance System, which is used in surgical procedures. But ASXC stock’s story is a little more complex than that.

robotic arms over medical bed symbolizing medical robotics
Source: shutterstock.com/MAD.vertise

Basically, the Senhance System is focused as much on cost-cutting as it is on being futuristic. In addition, ASXC stock is one name among 2021’s recent crop of meme stocks. A penny stock at the start of the year, Reddit fanned ASXC to a surge of over 900% in the first few months of 2021.

Now, Asensus Surgical shares are trading in the $2.85 range. That’s less than half of their February peak, but still up 352% year-to-date (YTD). So, is now the time to consider an investment? This is a Portfolio Grader “B” rated stock, so it definitely has growth potential. However, the key to understanding the Asensus story is looking at the unique value proposition of its product.

ASXC Stock: The Costs and the Pros of Robotic Surgery

First off, we should start our exanimation of ASXC stock by comparing traditional laprascopic surgery to robotic surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery is a specialized type of surgery that uses tiny incisions, a camera and surgical instruments. Surgeons are able to complete the operation with minimal cutting. That means patients can have smaller scars and tend to recover more quickly. Today, worldwide, over 13 million laparoscopic procedures are performed annually.

However, the nature of laparoscopic surgery has made it an ideal candidate for transformation via robotics. Surgeons like robotic surgery for its increased precision and ease in reaching hard-to-access organs. So, the problem with robotic surgery right now? It’s expensive. In 2017, Dr. In Gab Jeong from the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in South Korea told Reuters:

“The rapid increase in costly robot surgery in lieu of laparoscopic surgery without a definite advantage for the patient is a problem that can be applied not only to the urological field but also to the entire surgical field […] This may lead to a huge increase in the cost of medical care that can be a significant burden on the healthcare system.”

At that time, an average robotic surgery cost $2,678 more than its traditional laparoscopic equivalent. But this is where the Senhance System comes in. Asensus Surgical can win in operating rooms because its product is designed to deliver robotic surgery while minimizing costs.

How does it manage this? Asensus designed the product to utilize standard, re-usable surgical instruments. It also features an open-platform architecture. This combination reduces costs of use while making it easier for hospitals to integrate with their existing tech. As a result, the company says its product makes the time and cost of robotic surgery equal to manual laparoscopic surgery.

Rising Above the Meme-Stock Stigma

Sounds great, right? Well, there’s now also a bit of a complication with ASXC stock: its meme-stock status.

InvestorPlace contributor Robert Lakin gives a good overview of the rollercoaster ASXC has been on in 2021. Plus, even besides this volatility, simply being classified as a meme stock makes investors wary of it in the first place.

That said, one big move that has helped add a sense of legitimacy to ASXC stock — combating the implications of the “meme-stock” label — was this name’s recent addition to the Russell 2000 Index. Asensus Surgical’s CEO, Anthony Fernando, summed up the importance of the development:

“This milestone is a testament to our hard work to create value for our stockholders through our strategy and bring the Senhance System’s transformative technology to surgeons, hospitals, and patients globally.”

Bottom Line on ASXC Stock

All told, Asensus Surgical is a bet on the future of robotic surgery — specifically, the ability of its Senhance System to spur adoption through reduced costs. Moreover, in its first-quarter earnings, the company showed it is making progress, with two more hospitals signing agreements to install the product. Plus, a third hospital decided to buy its previously leased Senhance System outright. And the cherry on top? In Q1, revenue more than tripled year-over-year (YOY).

So, if you’re okay with riding out ongoing meme-stock volatility, it’s more than clear that ASXC stock has long-term growth potential.

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On the date of publication, neither Louis Navellier nor the InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article held (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

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