Boston Scientific acquires prostate spacer developer Augmenix in $600M deal

Boston Scientific has dropped $500 million up front to buy up Augmenix and its injectable prostate cancer spacer that helps isolate the organ during radiotherapy. The deal also provides for up to $100 million in sales-based milestone payments, as the medtech giant continues its year of acquisitions.

Augmenix’s SpaceOAR system aims to reduce the common side effects of prostate cancer radiation treatment, including unintentional exposure and injury to the rectum, by injecting a hydrogel cushion to create additional space around the prostate through a minimally invasive, in-office procedure.

A single injection is designed to last three months, within the duration of a standard radiation treatment. The hydrogel is then gradually resorbed by the body within a total of six months. SpaceOAR is CE marked and cleared by the FDA, and it has been used in more than 30,000 patients globally, the companies said, with plans to explore its use in other cancer indications.

Product sales are expected to reach $50 million this year and approach $90 million in 2019. The companies estimate a total market value of about $750 million, with about 400,000 men undergoing prostate radiotherapy annually, and more than 1.1 million being diagnosed per year worldwide.

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“The acquisition furthers our category leadership strategy in urology and the SpaceOAR hydrogel is a crucial addition to our growing prostate health treatment portfolio of products that improve the quality of life and clinical outcomes for men with prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia,” said Dave Pierce, president of Boston Scientific’s MedSurg business units.

Clinical trials in Europe and the U.S. have shown the spacer can reduce the amount of radiation delivered to the rectum, with patients reporting less rectal pain and less severe long-term complications. In one study, the average rectal V70 radiation dose was 3.3%, down from 12.4%, representing an almost three-quarter reduction compared to the control group.

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“We are proud of the clinical and commercial outcomes we've been able to achieve for SpaceOAR hydrogel thus far, and are excited to drive accelerated adoption leveraging Boston Scientific's urology and pelvic health expertise,” said John Pedersen, CEO of the Bedford, Massachusetts-based Augmenix.

“The company also has the additional resources needed to further explore expansion of indication to other organs throughout the body that could benefit from space creation—such as gynecological and pancreatic cancers,” Pedersen added. Augmenix was founded in 2008, based on technology from Incept, and currently has about 140 employees.

The acquisition is expected to close early in the fourth quarter of this year.