Ekso Takes Its Robotic Exoskeletons Into Outpatient and Home Settings With $10M Acquisition

Ekso Bionics — a San Rafael, California-based company that makes exoskeleton bionic devices — on Monday acquired Parker Hannifin’s business unit for human motion and control for $10 million. Parker is an Ohio-based manufacturer specializing in motion and control technologies. It received $5 million from Ekso at the deal’s closing, and it will receive the remaining $5 million over the next five years.

The acquisition will help extend Ekso’s product line across the continuum of care and provides access to Vanderbilt University as a research partner, said Ekso CEO Scott Davis in an interview.

Born out of University of California Berkeley’s robotics program, Ekso became a  company in 2005. Seven years later, it launched its first commercial medical rehabilitation exoskeleton.

Since then, the company has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA to market its ExoNR robotic exoskeleton for use by people with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke and multiple sclerosis. The robotic device is designed for use in rehabilitation settings and is meant to help neurorehabilitation patients learn how to walk properly again.

With the acquisition, Ekso is gaining Parker’s Indego lower limb exoskeleton line of products that allow clinicians to deliver individualized gait therapy to patients in inpatient, outpatient and home settings. The purchase also brings Parker’s robotic-assisted orthotic and prosthetic devices, which are currently being developed with hopes of commercialization in the future. The Indego product line allows clinicians to deliver individualized gait therapy to patients in inpatient, outpatient and home settings.

The MS indication for EksoNR increased Ekso’s capabilities in the outpatient space, but the acquisition of the Indego product line brings the company further into the outpatient setting and into the home, Davis pointed out.

“There’s something that happens among patients who have been using our technology and making great strides in their recovery through the use of robotic therapies. As they progress and as they move from inpatient to outpatient, they are often brought into more traditional physical therapy methods. And when they go home, oftentimes they’re left with no exoskeleton or augmented therapies. So this acquisition allows us to sort of follow that patient from post-acute care into outpatient and into the home,” he said.

The transaction also brings Parker’s 10-year research and development partnership with Vanderbilt University to Ekso. Davis said he expects Ekso and Vanderbilt to work together to create more innovative products in the future.

Ekso had been looking for a strategic acquisition to extend its products across the continuum of care for “a long time,” Davis declared.

“We’ve looked at every company that you can imagine in this space,” he said. “The synergies were so obvious between the organizations from the very first meeting that the time had to be now.”

Photo: Natee Meepian, Getty Images

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