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Research and Development

Investing in meaningful innovation

We invested $292 million in Research and Development (R&D) in 2019, equivalent to 5.7% of Group revenue.

Major product launches announced in 2019 included the launch of the OR3O Dual Mobility System for use in primary and revision hip arthroplasty, the EVOS WRIST Plating System, the WEREWOLF FLOW 90 Wand with FLOW~IQ Technology, the LENS 4K Surgical Imaging System and PICO 7Y sNPWT.

Our enterprise R&D operating model

Smith+Nephew’s R&D model provides governance and simple processes for new product development, starting with front end innovation and research, moving through new product development and launch, and ending with support of released products.

We focus on projects that will make a meaningful difference to our customers and their patients. This includes investing in incremental innovation to improve existing products, but also to transform our business using disruptive technologies, services and business models. Driving greater efficiency through innovation supporting our sustainability strategy, is also a priority for the R&D teams.

Strict criteria are applied to ensure that new products are aimed at fulfilling unmet clinical needs, have a strong commercial rationale, and are technically feasible. Our R&D experts in the US, UK, Europe, Singapore and China have extensive customer and sector knowledge.

The R&D function works closely with the marketing, clinical, quality, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, procurement and supply chain management teams to ensure we produce new products to cost, scope and schedule. We work in partnership with our customers, and welcome new product concepts from healthcare professionals, working collaboratively to bring ideas to reality.

The global R&D function includes our Clinical and Medical Affairs (CMA) team that ensures that, from conception, plans are developed to support product launches with the evidence increasingly required by clinicians, payers and regulators. Our products undergo clinical and health economic assessments both during their development and post-launch.

A strong pipeline

For 2020, we have a strong pipeline with a number of important launches planned and also expect to maintain the high cadence of clinical and economic evidence.

One area of focus is surgical robotics, with our next generation platform anticipated to be launched in 2020 following necessary regulatory clearances and approvals. When launched, the new product will reduce the physical device footprint. This, together with its CT-free technology, makes it an ideal solution for all surgical settings, including ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).

In addition, our R&D programme is focused on a number of options to broaden this platform for customers, including innovations intended to incorporate augmented reality, and machine learning technologies.