Wall Street analysts cheered Boston Scientific when it acquired Guidant in the largest deal in medical device industry history. But the firm's share price and bond ratings have taken a beating since then, read more >>
August 8th, 2007
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Transforming FDA LogoThe House appropriations bill including FDA's budget that was passed last week includes an amendment that would end all conflicts of interest on FDA panels, the Boston Globe reports. The provision, attached by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), would bar anyone with any financial ties to drug or device companies from sitting on FDA advisory panels. The problem is, that would sharply reduce the pool of qualified experts. The reality of today is that many doctors and academics consult with or perform research for the drug and device industries. Whether this is appropriate for the drug industry is debatable, but it is...
August 7th, 2007
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Most biomedical engineering students enter their field with the idea of spending their careers in a research lab, or maybe working for an established hospital or medical device company. But some decide to start businesses of their own, and their universities are helping them. Today's Boston Globe features some of those students from Massachusetts. Particularly notable is Boston University's new Entrepreneurial Research Lab, an effort by its School of Management and Office of Technology Development to commericalize technologies that come out of its science and engineering labs. Its first participant is Brandon Johnson, a student who invented a faster method to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases and has formed a company, Boston Fluidics Inc., to commercialize the technology. Under the terms of the program, his business gets free rent in exchange for him mentoring students...
August 6th, 2007
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Transforming FDA LogoThe House of Representatives has read more >>
August 3rd, 2007
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Like Johnson & Johnson before it, Boston Scientific plans to cut jobs, partly as a result of declining stent sales, reports the Associated Press. The other factors in the decision are sluggishness in the ICD market and massive debt from the Guidant acquisition. How many jobs will be affected is not known; details on cost-cutting, which could also include sales of assets, won't be released until next quarter. One candidate to be sold is the fluid management business. But the endovascular business, which the firm had considered selling a stake in, will remain wholly owned because it has posted strong growth recently.
August 3rd, 2007
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The November issue of MD&DI will honor the medical device industry's outstanding manufacturers of finished medical devices. But to do that, we need your input on which companies should receive this honor. What are the criteria for eligibility? Simply put, the companies need to be the best of the best. The competition is open to all medical OEMs. (Contract manufacturers and other vendors are not eligible.) Companies can be large or small, with any number of products available on the market. To help you out with the nomination, we've divided the competition into three general categories: Market Success/Savvy, Overcoming Adversity, and Outstanding Innovation. We are looking for companies that have, for example, achieved tremendous market success, have shown their mettle through market savvy or innovation, or made it through adversity with keen strategic vision. These categories are not mutually exclusive; in fact, an outstanding OEM may excel in all three. After all, one...
August 3rd, 2007
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Advanced Medical Optics has decided to withdraw its bid for fellow vision-device firm Bausch & Lomb, the Los Angeles Times reports. This clears the way for Bausch & Lomb to be sold to a subsidiary of private equity firm Warburg Pincus. AMO's bid was higher by about $10 per share, but B&L's board was skeptical that AMO shareholders would approve it. AMO's largest shareholder, ValueAct Capital, came out against it. The B&L board asked AMO for proof that its shareholders would back the bid. AMO decided to withdraw from the bidding instead. But not before a parting shot. "If, in the future, you decide to run a process that is designed to deliver value to your shareholders, please let us know," AMO CEO James Mazzo wrote to the B&L board. Ouch!
August 2nd, 2007
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Deep brain stimulation has been used for years on patients with Parkinson's Disease and other neurological disorders. It has been now been tried on a patient with a severe brain injury, and results have been positive, reports the Boston Globe, citing an article in the journal Nature. Of course the results will have to be repeatable before deep brain stimulation can be touted for those in a "minimally conscious state." But if they are, the implications are staggering. "Minimally conscious" patients are defined as those who appear to be vegetative but show signs of awareness. The positive results -- the man can now communicate and feed himself -- appear to be triggered by the stimulation of the thalamus. Now, 11 more patients will undergo the therapy, hoping for similar results. The article did not specify which company's deep brain stimulator was used. But...
August 2nd, 2007
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Johnson & Johnson yesterday announced that it will cut about 4% of its work force. The move comes in response to declining sales of its Cypher drug-eluting stent and projected revenue falls from drugs that are about to go off patent. It expects to save $1.3-1.6 billion in 2008 as a result of the moves. The Cordis division, which makes Cypher, is the device unit expected to be most affected. The firm will try to meet the targets primarily through attrition and hiring freezes. The company expects savings from restructuring as well as job cuts. "The Cordis franchise is moving to a more integrated business model to address the market changes underway with drug-eluting stents and to better serve the broad spectrum of its patients' cardiovascular needs, while reducing its cost base," the company stated. What that means specifically, we don't know yet. The device and drug teams operating more closely together is a good guess.
August 1st, 2007
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Medtronic Inc., with the help of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced its plans to develop an implantable pump to treat Huntington's disease. The combination device is expected to deliver Alnylam's RNA interference (RNAi) therapy via Medtronic's pump. RNAi is a process that naturally happens in cells and is suspected to turn off genes that cause certain diseases. Medtronic plans on marketing the device in Europe and then in the United States. The two companies have been collaborating since 2005 on research leading up to the development of the technology. Huntington's is a devastating degenerative disease that causes the deterioration of certain nerve cells in the brain. If the technology is successful in treating this disease, it's possible that Medtronic and Alnylam will develop similar combination devices to treat neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's.
July 31st, 2007
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