Medtronic to buy EPIX and its RF-based cardiac ablation platform

EKG rhythm
While financial terms were not disclosed, Medtronic expects the deal to close before the end of April or its fourth fiscal quarter. (Pixabay)

Medtronic has moved to acquire EPIX Therapeutics and its catheter-based cardiac ablation system with plans to offer it alongside its own products and build out what the company describes as a “comprehensive suite of tools” for treating heart arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation (AF).

EPIX’s radiofrequency energy-based system will join the medtech giant’s similar surgical ablation pens as well as its argon-powered cryoballoon probes. Both aim to create scar tissue in the heart, using heat or cold energy to interrupt the electrical signals that can cause irregular heartbeats.

While financial terms were not disclosed, Medtronic expects the deal to close before the end of April or its fourth fiscal quarter.

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EPIX's DiamondTemp ablation system is a closed-loop, temperature-controlled, irrigated system that provides physicians with feedback during an ablation procedure and allows for rapid power modulation for more control. It received a CE mark in 2017 but is currently limited to investigational use in the U.S.

"The DiamondTemp cardiac ablation system represents leapfrog technology in the RF cardiac ablation space, a segment of the market where we haven't previously participated," said Rebecca Seidel, VP and general manager of Medtronic’s atrial fibrillation solutions division.

A clinical trial to support the device’s FDA approval completed patient recruitment in 2018, according to Medtronic, for patients with symptomatic, intermittent AF. A second trial, currently enrolling patients, is testing the system in patients with persistent AF.

Last year, Boston Scientific worked to build out its own cardiac ablation offerings by picking up cryoballoon device firm Cryterion for $202 million upfront and adding its products alongside its previous heat-based RF ablation products.

However, Cryterion has not yet received clearance for its platform, which is currently being studied in a European clinical trial with plans for a CE mark submission early this year. Boston Scientific estimates the global electrophysiology market will pass $5 billion, with single-shot ablation therapies making up the fastest-growing segment.

Boston Scientific also bought up Securus Medical, for $50 million, to add an FDA-cleared temperature-monitoring system, which uses an esophageal probe to measure changes and monitor the safety of cardiac ablation procedures.

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