Spotlight On... Medical device tax is gone for two years--who wins?; Intuitive Surgical buys more Luna tech for $9M; EnteroMedics plans reverse split; and more...

In 2014, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) paid $180 million in device tax payments, Medtronic ($MDT) paid $112 million, Covidien $60 million, Smith & Nephew ($SNN) $25 million and C.R. Bard ($BCR) $3.5 million. Smaller companies, many of whom are unprofitable and struggling to survive, had the most difficult time absorbing the 2.3% excise tax, according to proponents of repeal, who finally succeeded in getting the tax suspended for two years. "It's welcome news, especially for the multitude of smaller companies in this industry," said Bruce Carlson, the publisher of Kalorama Information, in a statement. "A top 20 device company can pay tens of millions and post a note in their annual report. A small company with one device needs all monies from their sales. Small device companies are often funded by venture capital, least able to raise price or find a partner to merge with, and companies where the two point three was critical operating funds." Release

@FierceMedDev: ICYMI yesterday: Study: Boston Sci's Watchman more cost-effective than drugs in the long term. Article | Follow @FierceMedDev

@EmilyWFierce: ICYMI yesterday: Olympus played down early report of superbug infections linked to duodenoscope devices. Report | Follow @EmilyWFierce

@VarunSaxena2: UPDATED: Medical device tax suspended in $1.8T federal budget. Story | Follow @VarunSaxena2

> Intuitive Surgical ($ISRG) spent $9 million to acquire the remainder of the medical shape-sensing technology from Luna Innovations; the robotic surgery giant bought fiber optic shape-sensing and localization technology from Luna in January 2014 for $12 million upfront plus undisclosed milestones and an undisclosed royalty. More

> EnteroMedics ($ETRM) plans to execute a 1-for-15 reverse split as of Jan. 7 to help the penny-stock comply with Nasqaq listing requirements. The company's implantable neuroblocker Maestro was approved by the FDA earlier this year for weight loss. More

> Startup Xenios will seek to gain a CE mark for its i-lung device in the next 18 months and to launch it in 2017. That could make it the first approved wearable artificial lung. More

Biotech News

@FierceBiotech: Columbia U. scientists spotlight a promising proteasome approach in preventing Alzheimer's. FierceBiotechResearch article | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: I don't get to mention baseball much in my work. Today I get the Mets. More from FierceBiotechResearch | Follow @JohnCFierce

@DamianFierce: hashtag infinitesimal innovation. More from Forbes | Follow @DamianFierce

> Shire's Baxalta buyout looks more and more likely as year winds down. Report

> Sanofi takes an FDA shortcut with its diabetes combo, racing with Novo. Story

> AstraZeneca bags FDA OK on gout drug lesinurad as safety doubts linger. Article

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: Sun Pharma said to be in talks to buy Intas for $2.3B. FiercePharmaAsia report | Follow @FiercePharma

@EricPFierce: Bulgarian vet drug company Huvepharma picks up 3 plants from Zoetis for $40M. Article | Follow @EricPFierce

@CarlyHFierce: ICYMI yesterday: With FDA nod, Actelion adds blockbuster hopeful Uptravi to PAH portfolio. More | Follow @CarlyHFierce

> Amgen's PCSK9 outcomes trial to deliver data sooner than expected. Item

> Doctors target Catalyst Pharma's forthcoming pricing on old-turned-new med Firdapse. Report

> Celgene opens door for early launch of Revlimid generics. Article

Biotech Research News

> Moneyball's analytics wiz DePodesta joins Scripps' Big Data team. News

> Transatlantic research team spotlights promise of mTOR drugs for follicular lymphoma. Report

> An intriguing anti-aging drug target may also work on PTSD. Story

> Candidate Clinton calls for $2B in annual Alzheimer's R&D support. Item

> Columbia U. scientists spotlight a promising proteasome approach in preventing Alzheimer's. Article

Vaccines News

> In $171M deal, Bavarian Nordic and J&J's Janssen extend efforts to HPV. More

> GlaxoSmithKline launched new e-commerce platform for vaccines, pharma products. Story

> Vaxart initiates PhI trial of oral influenza B vaccine. Item

> European MERS vaccine effective in camels. Report

> Sanofi's dengue vaccine gets first Asian approval with more discussions underway. Article

Pharma Marketing News

> Going beyond smiling, happy patients: Is better creative on the pharma horizon? More

> Celgene buries the hatchet with India's Natco over generic Revlimid. Item

> Price and reputation are indubitably, inexorably intertwined. Report

> Outcome-based healthcare needs outcome-based marketing. Article

> Pharma marketers steer through changing tides. Story