Boston Scientific scraps bioresorbable stent program after seeing safety woes hamstring Abbott’s rival product

Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific's headquarters in Marlborough, MA

Boston Scientific is set to scrap its bioresorbable stent program, Star Tribune reports. The decision to can the program before getting a full look at its study data follows a succession of setbacks for Abbott’s rival stent that have dented the sector’s hopes of generating big sales.

Stents that biodegrade into blood vessels were seen as a multi-billion dollar opportunity when Boston Scientific followed Abbott into the nascent sector. But Abbott’s Absorb and Absorb GT1 bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BVS) have failed to take off, in part because of reports of adverse events. 

The case against Absorb hit a new peak earlier this month when the results of a two-year outcomes study led the author of comment piece in The Lancet to state there is now “evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that Absorb BVS is inferior to new-generation [metallic everolimus-eluting stents] on both efficacy and safety throughout two years.” 

Boston Scientific has kept tabs on the travails of its rival while developing its own bioresorbable stent. Having done so, Boston Scientific sees little value in expanding testing of its stent, Renuvia, beyond patients with uncomplicated medical histories, regardless of what the six-month data in this population looks like. 

“You have to ask the question, do we actually put the effort into studying this in much more complex patients, many of whom are at higher risk of events anyway, against a background of literature from all over the world showing consistently that this strategy is associated with worse outcomes?” Boston Scientific CMO Ian Meredith, M.D., Ph.D. said. “We think it doesn’t make sense to do this.”

Dropping Renuvia after the current study is over will free Boston Scientific to focus on programs it thinks will have more of an effect on patients and its financials. Meredith picked out work to treat stroke and heart failure as examples of better investments than trying to fix the technical problems facing bioresorbable stents.