What happened

In response to fourth-quarter results, shares of TransEnterix (ASXC), a medical device company focused on robotic surgery, fell as much as 22% in early-morning trading on Tuesday. Shares were down about 12% as of 10:15 a.m. EST.

So what

Management already provided investors with a sneak peek at its fourth-quarter results a few weeks ago at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. 

Here are the official numbers from the quarter:

  • Five Senhance Systems were sold during the fourth quarter. 
  • Revenue grew 120% to $7.5 million. That's slightly ahead of the $7.35 million that analysts were expecting. It was also a hair better than the $7.4 million management had previously predicted.
  • Adjusted net loss was $14.7 million, or $0.07 per share. That was worse than the $0.06 loss that Wall Street was expecting.
  • Cash balance at year end was $73 million. Management believes that it currently has enough capital on hand to fund operations into "late 2020."
Four Senhance robotic surgery arms

Image source: TransEnterix.

Here's a review of the numbers from the full year 2018:

  • 15 Senhance systems were sold.
  • Revenue grew 239% to $24.1 million.
  • Net loss was $61.8 million, or $0.30 per share.
  • Adjusted net loss was $50.4 million, or $0.24 per share. 

Traders appear to be reacting negatively to the higher-than-expected net loss for the quarter. The sell-off makes sense in light of the fact that TransEnterix's stock had gained more than 40% since the start of the year as of Monday.

Now what

TransEnterix's CEO Todd Pope called 2018 "a transformative year" for the company, since it was able to place 15 systems around the world and secure a number of regulatory wins. 

As for the year ahead, Pope stated, "We see a significant opportunity to leverage all of the progress we made in 2018 to continue to grow the adoption of the Senhance System globally."

This Fool agrees that 2018 was a successful year for TransEnterix, but there's no doubt that the company is still at least a few years away from reaching profitability. That means that investors can probably expect the company to perform yet another capital raise in the not-too-distant future. For that reason I'll continue to approach this stock with a wait-and-see mind-set.

Check out the latest TransEnterix earnings call transcript.