Boston Scientific joins Optum Labs as the company's first medical device partner

Boston Scientific ($BSX) is joining forces with Optum as the healthcare data company's first medical device partner.

The Massachusetts-based company will work with Optum to research effective treatments for heart failure and related cardiac conditions. Optum was cofounded in 2013 by the Mayo Clinic to provide healthcare information to its collaborators to improve patient outcomes. The company counts Pfizer ($PFE) and the AARP as partners.  

Boston Scientific and Optum will initially look at unmet needs and challenges facing patients with heart failure, the company said in a statement. Their research will examine practice patterns, performance measures, management of comorbid conditions and processes of care. In particular, the research will focus on how existing or new products and services could play a role in improving patient care.

Boston Scientific CEO Mike Mahoney

"As a global leader in medical devices and related solutions, Boston Scientific is excited to serve as Founding Medical Device Partner at Optum Labs, and to collaborate with other health care leaders to help accelerate the pace of innovation across our industry," Boston Scientific CEO Mike Mahoney said in a statement. "We believe there are many other areas of common interest that could be addressed through Optum Labs and look forward to collaborating with the other partners."

The partnership comes at a critical moment for Boston Scientific, as the company continues to engineer a turnaround to counter sluggish sales. Although the devicemaker posted a profit and a slight increase in sales for the first quarter of 2014, its cardiovascular sales remained flat at $700 million. Company officials said during an earnings call that they were disappointed in the performance of their cardiac rhythm management unit, which fell to $466 million from $478 million a year ago. A successful collaboration with a well-backed informatics company could go a long way in boosting Boston Scientific's numbers.

Meanwhile, the company continues to develop its cardiac products and push for sales at home and abroad. Boston Scientific recently launched a U.S. trial of two next-generation leads for defibrillators and pacemakers, aiming for FDA approval after completing its first implant. Both devices already have CE marks and are available overseas. In April, the company won FDA approval for new implantable defibrillators and heart failure devices. Boston Scientific had previously launched its subcutaneous ICD system in Asia, the first step in its Eastern marketing effort.

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