Medtronic joins forces with DaVita to launch new kidney tech company

Nearly 10% of adults around the world have chronic kidney disease, representing around 700 million people. At least 2.6 million of them are currently being treated for kidney failure—a number that’s expected to double by 2030, according to researchers’ estimates.

There’s no time like the present, then, for medical device makers to go all-in on developing new dialysis delivery systems and other technologies to treat the latest stages of kidney disease.

That’s exactly what Medtronic and DaVita are aiming to do, through a new company that they plan to launch together sometime in the next year, they announced Thursday.

The unnamed new venture will draw on DaVita’s decades of experience as the leading provider of dialysis services in the U.S., as well as Medtronic’s own expertise in developing medical technologies across healthcare including in kidney care. In fact, the medtech giant plans to send its existing renal care solutions business—including its full portfolio of renal access and acute and chronic therapy devices, and its pipeline, R&D teams and manufacturing facilities to boot—to live under the umbrella of the new company.

From that jumping-off point, the company will develop a range of new kidney care tech, with a specific focus on at-home treatments that’ll make dialysis more easily accessible, offering an alternative to the typical schedule of in-clinic sessions three times a week.

The joint venture will be equally owned by Medtronic and DaVita, both of which will provide initial investments to get the company off the ground, plus future operating capital to keep it going. Specific details of those financial contributions weren’t disclosed.

The company will be overseen by a six-person board of directors, comprising two selected from each company and two independent directors. Ven Manda, currently the president of Medtronic's renal care solutions segment, will take on the role of chief executive.

The partners said they’re expecting to close the transaction within the next calendar year, at which point they’ll unveil the new company’s name and branding.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Medtronic and share our deep insight into patient and physician needs with the goal of accelerating the development and commercialization of scalable kidney care technologies,” said DaVita CEO Javier Rodriguez. “DaVita is committed to best-in-class solutions that improve outcomes, access and the quality of life of our patients, and this is another way to provide more options to the market.”

News of the so-called NewCo comes as Medtronic reported only modest revenue growth for its full fiscal 2022—which ended April 29—and a 1% drop in the fourth quarter alone.

The full year’s revenue clocked in at just under $31.7 billion, a 5% bump over 2021’s total. Medtronic didn’t separate out the numbers for its kidney care business, but the segment comprising renal, respiratory and gastrointestinal therapies saw a 6.6% year-over-year drop in revenues, falling to just over $3 billion from 2021’s almost $3.3 billion.