Boston Scientific's strong results fuel hope for renal denervation success

Boston Scientific posted strong data for its Vessix renal denervation system at EuroPCR.--Courtesy of Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific ($BSX) made a splash when it spent $425 million on 2012 Fierce 15 winner Vessix Vascular last year, and now, with strong interim data for its newly acquired renal denervation system, the company has a shot to compete for market share in the soon-to-boom space.

In results from the REDUCE-HTN study presented at EuroPCR, the Vessix system lowered patients' systolic blood pressure by an average of 27.6 mmHg at 6 months and 28.4 mmHg after one year. In similar patient populations, Medtronic's ($MDT) market-leading Symplicity lowered systolic pressure by about 30 mmHg, while St. Jude Medical's ($STJ) EnligHTN averaged a 27-mmHg reduction.

That gives Boston Scientific a seat at the table, even though it's the latest arrival to the race for renal denervation dominance. Much like its competitors, the Vessix system is CE marked and on sale outside the U.S., but Boston Scientific has yet to secure the FDA's blessing to test the device stateside, and any domestic rollout will come after Medtronic's planned 2015 launch of Symplicity.

But, as former Vessix CEO Ray Cohen told us before the acquisition, the device boasts a faster procedure time than its competition, ablating 8 points on the renal artery in just one to two minutes, quicker than Symplicity's 40-minute procedure time. That should help the Vessix system make up ground and market share overseas, Cohen said, and Boston Scientific, judging by the use of its checkbook, would seem to agree.

"We believe that the familiar balloon catheter design of the Vessix System, intuitive user interface and unique bipolar technology make it the ideal choice for physicians," Jeff Mirviss, the company's Peripheral Interventions president, said in a statement. "The interim REDUCE-HTN data support the expected long-term benefit of the Vessix system in reducing blood pressure, and we're excited to bring this advanced technology to physicians and their patients."

Analysts predict the worldwide market for renal denervation will soar as high as $3 billion within the decade, and for Boston Scientific, a company in the throes of a comeback operation, cashing in on demand for a new technology fits right in with CEO Mike Mahoney's strategy to return his company to growth.

The devicemaker took a $354 million net loss last quarter, as sluggish demand for cardiac devices dragged down strong sales in up-and-coming units like neuromodulation. But Boston Scientific sees a way out, planning about 1,000 job cuts through the year and investing in high-growth spaces to dull the blow of maturing markets.

- read the results

Special Reports: Vessix Vascular – 2012 Fierce 15 | Renal Denervation - The Next Big Thing in Medical Devices