LifeTech partners up for lung cancer devices

A week after securing a $66.2 million investment from Medtronic ($MDT), Chinese devicemaker LifeTech Scientific is partnering to create devices to treat and diagnose lung cancer.

LifeTech joins China's DiNova Venture Partners and U.S. devicemaker Broncus Medical, and the three plan to develop lung cancer technologies suited for the Chinese market. Broncus already markets the LungPoint Navigation System, used in bronchoscopic procedures, and the FleXNeedle tissue-sampling device. In addition to developing new techs, the partnership will work to launch Broncus' existing products in China.

"By coming together as a team, we effectively bridge the gap between cutting edge technologies and the world's largest medical market in the making as we drive awareness of Broncus products, helping to help save millions of lives," LifeTech CEO Michael Zhao said in a statement.

Last week, Medtronic announced its purchase of a 24.6% stake in LifeTech, giving it the right to sell LifeTech products around the world and the opportunity to acquire further shares of the company depending on sales and developmental milestones.

The deal to develop China-specific technology dovetails with the prevailing wisdom on the Chinese device market. For years, big devicemakers have simply ported their U.S.-approved devices into Chinese hospitals, but the imported devices tend to carry hefty price tags only manageable for China's wealthiest centers and residents. Now, firms like Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Covidien ($COV) are looking to market lower-cost products tailored for the country's market, either through acquisition or local R&D.

- read the joint release