Philips, HeartFlow strike commercial, R&D cardiac test pact

Philips headquarters
Philips' head office

Philips has signed up to promote HeartFlow’s noninvasive chest pain test alongside its catheters. The deal provides more evidence big healthcare technology players are impressed by HeartFlow FFRct Analysis, which was the subject of agreements with GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers earlier this year.

The Philips deal features multiple moving parts, the most immediately significant of which relates to promotion of the HeartFlow technology. Philips will promote the HeartFlow test in conjunction with its own coronary fractional flow reserve (FFR), instant wave-free ratio (iFR) and intravascular ultrasound advanced catheters. This commercial collaboration will initially focus on the U.S. before expanding globally, giving HeartFlow a chance to benefit from the scale of Philips’ sales operation.

Philips has also built a R&D collaboration into the terms of the deal. The plan is to work together on “an improved cath-lab x-ray image derived FFR or iFR solution.” Such a technology is expected to improve the diagnosis—and the workflow that generates it—of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).

"Our collaboration agreement with Philips, which has an integrated solution within cath-labs, will help bring HeartFlow's technology to more patients with suspected and potentially life-threatening CAD," HeartFlow CEO John Stevens, M.D., said in a statement.

The signing of the deal continues a pivotal year for HeartFlow. The good news began flowing in February when U.K. cost watchdog NICE recommended the use of HeartFlow FFRct Analysis to assess patients with stable, recent-onset chest pain. NICE reached its decision after concluding the use of the software to create 3D models from CT scans could save the U.K. health service about $11 million a year by cutting the need for invasive procedures.

That external validation of the technology was followed quickly by two other votes of confidence in its capabilities. Siemens, specifically its IPO-bound Healthineers unit, struck a deal to combine its CT scanners with HeartFlow’s technology in March. And GE Healthcare added its name to the list of HeartFlow collaborators last month. The GE deal also involves combining HeartFlow’s technology with CT scanners.