Stent: Taxus/Taxus Element
2011 sales: $420 million (actual)
Maker: Boston Scientific ($BSX)
Back story: Boston Scientific's fifth-place finish for its Taxus line comes with a sobering qualifier: Taxus sales used to place much higher globally than they do now. They hit the billion-dollar mark as early as 2009 before nose-diving to $500 million in 2010 and then $420 million in 2011. The paclitaxel-eluting stent line is part of Boston Scientific's effort to only market stents it manufactures itself, rather than license from outside producers (see #3). But that strategy has come up against intense competition, average price declines in the U.S. stent market and a continued erosion in procedure volumes, plus sales declines in Europe, the company said in its 2012 third-quarter earnings report. And sales of the initial Taxus stent have declined over time as competitors stepped up to the plate. Still, Boston Scientific says favorable clinical trials for Taxus, Taxus Element (and its Promus Element) stent lines, plus an increased focus on China and India, will ultimately restore sales growth. It is particularly betting on Taxus Element, a third-generation stent (approved in the U.S. last year) that it bills as a standout because of "a unique platinum chromium alloy" and design to allow, in part, for easier deliverability and better drug distribution.
FDA OKs Boston Sci's ION stent system