St. Jude study targets broader renal denervation use

St. Jude studying whether its EnligHTN device can benefit patients with less severe hypertension--Courtesy of St. Jude

St. Jude Medical ($STJ) is kicking off another study of its EnligHTN renal denervation device, enrolling the first subject in a trial to test how the tech works in patients with less severe hypertension.

Currently, EnligHTN and its competitors are cleared overseas to treat drug-resistant hypertension, but St. Jude plans to test it on 500 patients in Europe and Australia with less severe forms of the disease to see if it can chart the same blood-pressure reduction demonstrated in previous trials. 

EnligHTN uses radiofrequency energy to deaden nerves in the kidneys, effectively tricking the body to lower blood pressure. In an earlier study, the device reduced systolic blood pressure by an average of 28 mmHg, keeping it down through a 6-month follow-up. And St. Jude touts its device's multi-electrode tip, saying it makes for a speedier procedure than with Medtronic's ($MDT) single-electrode Symplicity.

If EnligHTN comes through with the same positive results for this expanded patient population, it could spell another major advance for the renal denervation market. Analysts have said the space will be worth up to $2.8 billion by 2020, but reaching that lofty goal is likely dependent on expanding the treatment's indication from just drug-resistant hypertension.

But if St. Jude, Medtronic and the rest of the players can convince regulators and physicians to make renal denervation the standard of care for the millions around the world with hypertension, $2.8 billion might be a little conservative.

- read the announcement

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