Stent advances expected to prop up European market

First, the bad news: The overall European coronary stent market is expected to dip to about $490 million by 2016, even with growth in procedure numbers. That market number will be the result of a 3.5% annual drop, a new report by Millennium Research Group predicts.

And now the good news: Products displaying innovations beyond basic stents will blossom even as the overall market declines, limiting the decline, Millennium concludes.

Biodegradable polymer drug-eluting stents are poised to be a big winner, the report notes. The reason is their improvement over the status quo: They feature a polymer that controls the release of the drug and then dissolves, leaving behind a bare metal stent, and they are supposed to be safer than durable polymer drug-eluting stents, which can lead to blood clots. Drug-eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffolds also stand to boost their sales; they are absorbed into the body, help regrow the blood vessel wall and are also thought to be safer than traditional stents.

That means companies including Boston Scientific ($BSX) and Terumo Medical—both of which are focused on biodegradable polymer drug-eluting stents; plus Abbott Vascular, and Biotronik—which are developing bioresorbable vascular scaffolds, stand to gain as their products hit the market in Europe in 2012 and beyond, Millennium points out.

Their path to success is not completely assured, however. Assuming that the companies' products gain their CE mark approvals, the researchers add that they'll have to prove greater safety and uniqueness compared with their competitors in an increasingly crowded drug-eluting stent market sector.

Millennium's full report is called "European Markets for Interventional Cardiology Devices 2012."

- here's the release

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