(Bloomberg) -- Johnson & Johnson has agreed to buy surgical robotics company Auris Health Inc. for about $3.4 billion in cash, according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that would give the drug giant a lung-cancer diagnostic and treatment tool.
Under the terms of the deal, expected to be announced on Wednesday, J&J could also make additional payments of up to $2.35 billion to Auris based on milestones, the people said. Auris, a closely held firm led by industry veteran Fred Moll, has developed robotic surgical scopes operated with a handheld device that are steered into patients’ lungs to identify cancerous tumors.
Auris will be part of J&J’s medical-devices division. The world’s largest maker of health-care products, J&J also has a robotic-surgery company called Verb Surgical Inc. that it formed with Verily Life Sciences, part of Google parent Alphabet Inc., in late 2015.
Moll will join J&J after the deal closes, which is expected by the end of the second quarter. The Auris deal will play a role in J&J’s lung cancer initiative, to develop digital tools for diagnosis and early stage intervention.
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