Medtronic will reportedly invest $70 million in Israeli medical device start-up BioControl Medical, according to Globes. The devicemaker develops and markets implantable devices that enable controlled electrical stimulation of various nerves to treat autonomic disorders. Its lead development program is the CardioFit System, which is in testing to treat heart failure by stimulating the vagus nerve. CardioFit was approved in Europe in 2008, but faces about three more years of testing before it can hit the U.S. market.
In addition to the investment, Medtronic obtained an option to acquire BioControl for $550 million if CardioFit is approved by the FDA. Notably, the devicemaker also has an option to buy the company for $350 million even if CardioFit flunks clinical trials or is rejected by the agency.
Medtronic refused to comment on the deal, saying in a statement that it "routinely looks at medical technologies from smaller or early stage companies throughout the world" and invests in promising programs.