Philips to pay $292M upfront for AF ablation startup EPD

A screenshot from EPD Solutions' technology (EPD Solutions)

Philips is set to buy EPD Solutions for around $292 million upfront. The takeover will give Philips a 3D cardiac imaging system to slot into its portfolio of interventional imaging technologies.

EPD’s technology utilizes single-use electromagnetic sensors and software algorithms to give physicians a real-time, 3D look at lesions created during cardiac arrhythmia ablation. These lesions can prevent the proliferation of atrial fibrillation, but only if they span the thickness of the atrial wall. By making it easier for physicians to tell if they have made permanent, transmural lesions, EPD thinks it can increase the success rate of ablation while shortening procedure times.

That prospect has turned heads at Philips, which is handing over $292 million and committing up to $245 million more in milestones to buy the technology. Philips is downplaying the near-term sales potential of the acquired device but thinks its merits will shine through and drive growth down the line.

“It will take time to penetrate this market, already worth more than €2 billion, as most healthcare providers are conservative. But EPD has a highly competitive, breakthrough technology, which can really address unmet needs,” Philips CEO Frans van Houten said on a media call attended by Reuters.

Once the deal closes next month, Philips will start trying to realize this potential. EPD picked up a CE mark for the device earlier this year and has installed the technology at several European hospitals. A 510(k) submission is under review at the FDA.

The deal marks yet another successful exit for EPD founder Shlomo Ben-Haim, M.D. Ben-Haim made his name in the 1990s when two of the companies he founded, Biosense Webster and Instent, were bought by Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic in deals worth more than $600 million. More startups and exits followed, moving the value of deals involving Ben-Haim’s businesses past $1 billion. 

Ben-Haim and other EPD employees will stay on after the takeover closes, working at Philips to build a business around the acquired technology.