|Courtesy of Medtronic|
What To Know: Medtronic ($MDT) has been serious about renal denervation at least as far back as 2010, when the device giant shelled out $800 million to acquire Ardian, inventor of Symplicity. The device, which already had its CE mark when Medtronic snapped it up, works through a minimally invasive procedure. A doctor inserts the steerable catheter into the renal artery, and Symplicity's radio frequency energy electrode tip performs a series of two-minute ablations to arterial nerves. Once the process is completed, Symplicity goes out the way it came in, and there's no need for permanent implants.
What's Next: Medtronic is the furthest along in the race to cash in on renal denervation, and it began a large-scale trial in October 2011, aiming to get FDA approval by 2015. The company plans to test Symplicity on about 530 patients in 60 centers across the U.S., and, in the meantime, Medtronic has released a steady stream of positive safety and cost-effectiveness data from Europe.
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