Boston Scientific's CEO signals green for a renewed hypertension push

Boston Scientific's Vessix renal denervation device--Courtesy of Vessix

Boston Scientific CEO Mike Mahoney would like to make hay while the sun shines--and for the medical device giant that means widening the gap between it and its big-three rivals, before billion-dollar rain clouds crack open in the untapped U.S. market for renal denervation.

On Tuesday, Mahoney told Reuters' Susan Kelly that Natick, MA-based Boston Scientific ($BSX) plans to forge ahead with its effort to develop a renal denervation device to treat U.S. patients with uncontrolled hypertension--high blood pressure that hasn't responded to drug therapy. Medtronic ($MDT) threw a bombshell into those efforts earlier this year when it abandoned its own renal denervation trial program after the failure of its Symplicity device. St. Jude Medical ($STJ) has vowed to push ahead, but stumbled over trial enrollment in December.

"Right now it's going to be a slower market until (Boston Scientific) or another company delivers on a trial," Mahoney reportedly said. "When that happens, the market will open up, and it has the potential to be a multi-billion-dollar market."

At January's J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference, Mahoney took a cooler stance, telling Bloomberg that Boston Scientific's hypertension programs were officially on pause while the company reviewed what happened to Medtronic. Boston Scientific bought its renal denervation technology from Vessix Vascular in 2012.

Both Vessix and Symplicity have EU approval, but the outcome of U.S. trials is likely to have an impact on uptake with cardiologists there.

Meanwhile, upstarts are making noise: California-based ReCor Medical says it's not cowed by Medtronic's failure, and Michigan-based Ablative Solutions just raised $9.5 million with an alternative to radio-frequency-based renal denervation.

- read the Reuters story

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