Device company acquisitions follow the interventional spotlight as it shifts to valves and hypertension

Shelley Wood

November 23, 2010

New Yo rk, NY - Two recent announcements of acquisition plans by cardiovascular device giants speak to the shifting spotlight in interventional cardiology. Just a few years back, drug-eluting stents, distal protection devices, patent foramen ovale closure, and carotid procedures were the new frontier for interventionalists; now, excitement is focused on percutaneous valves and, with new trial results last week, catheter-based renal denervation.

On November 19, Boston Scientific announced that it would be acquiring percutaneous-valve developer Sadra Medical for $450 million—$225 million up front, with the rest delivered based on milestones met[1]. And late Monday, Medtronic announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to buy Ardian, the privately held company that makes the Symplicity renal sympathetic nerve ablation system used to treat resistant hypertension, for $800 million, plus milestone payments[2]. Medtronic has previously invested in Ardian and holds an 11% stake in the company, a press release notes.

As reported by heartwire , the SYMPLICITY-HTN results, presented at last week's American Heart Association 2010 Scientific Sessions , showed that six months after renal sympathetic nerve ablation, average office-based blood pressure was reduced by 32/12 mm Hg in patients with resistant hypertension, with no major side effects seen. In discussions of the findings, hypertension experts tentatively used terms like cure and holy grail, albeit with the caveat that much more study was needed.

As for the Sadra device, known as the Lotus, the company bills it as "the first fully repositionable technology"—unlike forerunners in the field, the Edwards Sapien and the Medtronic CoreValve, the Lotus device can be retrieved and resheathed to allow operators to retract and reposition the device before final deployment. It is a self-expanding device, like the CoreValve, whereas the Sapien devices are balloon-expandable. Like the Sapien, however, the Lotus is made of bovine tissue; the CoreValve uses porcine tissue.

So far, the Sadra has been tested only in a small feasibility study, in Europe, led by Dr Eberhard Grube (International Heart Center, Essen, Germany), but the device is often referred to as one of two up-and-comers, along with the Direct Flow valve (Direct Flow Medical, Santa Rosa, CA), behind the Sapien and the CoreValve, both of which already hold CE mark in Europe.


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