St. Jude chases renal denervation market share with new study

St. Jude is touting new data on its EnligHTN device--courtesy of St. Jude

St. Jude Medical ($STJ) is among the devicemakers angling for primacy in the renal denervation market, and the company snagged some positive 6-month results for its EnligHTN device, finding that it helped lower blood pressure in a small study.

St. Jude presented its data at the annual American Heart Association meeting, touting that EnligHTN lowered the blood pressure of 46 patients with drug-resistant hypertension by an average of 28 mmHg and held that result for 6 months. St. Jude claims that's double the pressure reduction offered by competing devices in the same time frame.

Medtronic ($MDT) is the current market leader in the renal denervation world with its Symplicity device, but St. Jude has consistently assailed its crosstown rival, saying EnligHTN is faster and more effective. So far, the nerve-deadening procedure and its attendant devices are yet to get FDA approval, but Medtronic and St. Jude have their products on shelves in Europe, competing with Covidien ($COV), Vessix Vascular and ReCor Medical. Medtronic leads the pack on the road to the U.S. market, running an IDE trial targeting FDA approval in 2015.

While St. Jude's 6-month results are hardly earth-shattering, the study is a spot of bright news in what's been a tough few weeks for the devicemaker. Last week, the company announced that it would cut another 500 jobs, bringing its 2012 total to 800. In the last quarter, St. Jude's net sales dropped another 4%, and then came disappointing study data revealing that St. Jude's Amplatzer heart plug seems to have little effect in preventing strokes.

- read St. Jude's release

Special Report: Renal Denervation - The Next Big Thing in Medical Devices