|IoGyn's Symphion System--Courtesy of IoGyn|
In the wake of FDA safety concerns over surgical procedures to remove uterine fibroids, Boston Scientific ($BSX) is shelling out $65 million for a large stake in a company that offers a different, minimally-invasive approach.
Boston Scientific signed a definitive agreement to purchase 72% of IoGyn, a California startup that develops products for minimally-invasive gynecological surgery. The company already held a 28% stake in IoGyn prior to the current acquisition.
Through the deal, Boston Scientific will gain access to IoGyn's Symphion System, a next generation device for hysteroscopic intrauterine tissue removal. Unlike traditional "power morcellation" tools, Symphion resects the growth within the uterus and removes tissue using suction. The FDA-cleared system also includes a closed-loop feature to prevent fluids from overflowing in the patient. Boston Scientific will pair the device with its own Genesys HTA System for abnormal uterine bleeding to strengthen its gynecological surgery portfolio, the company said in a statement.
"IoGyn offers minimally-invasive approaches that we believe are more cost-effective for patients, surgeons and the healthcare system," said Karen Prange, president of urology and women's health at Boston Scientific. "This new technology platform is designed to address unmet patient and physician needs, and we believe it represents a truly differentiated improvement compared to existing technologies in the fast-growing hysteroscopic fibroid removal market segment."
With its acquisition of IoGyn, the Massachusetts-based company hopes to cash in on a growing market. The current worldwide hysteroscopic market segment is estimated at $80 million, and is projected to grow more than $200 million by 2020, the company said in a statement. Boston Scientific's nontraditional treatment methods could appeal to a greater audience, and provide an alternative to devices that have recently come under FDA scrutiny.
In April, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ)'s Ethicon unit suspended sales of its power morcellators after the FDA questioned the efficacy of the devices. Roughly one in 350 women with fibroids also have uterine sarcoma, the agency said, and using power morcellators on such patients could cause tumors to proliferate in the abdomen and pelvis. Earlier in the month, the FDA advised surgeons not to use the devices and scheduled an advisory meeting to explore the issue.
J&J is not the only company to face problems related to its power morcellation tools. Intuitive Surgical ($ISRG) cut growth projections for its da Vinci Surgical System in April due to declining gynecological procedures and power morcellator safety concerns, the company said in an earnings call.
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