The Star Tribune of Minneapolis has an interesting piece on the expanding use of the da Vinci surgical robot system, made by Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA). While it has been on the market since 1999, it has primarily been used to treat prostate cancer, until recently. Now, it is seeing frequent use in applications such as myomectomy (uterine fibroid removal), bariatric surgery, kidney donor harvesting, and coronary bypass. Interestingly, the increased use is being driven not only by doctors who like the ease of use and effectiveness of the system, but also by patients, who are learning through the Internet of new and better ways that procedures are being performed. All of this means that more hospitals are seeing the system's hefty price tag (the piece mentions that one hospital paid $1.6 million for it) as worth it.
August 13th, 2007
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Just three years after acquiring Advanced Bionics, Boston Scientific Corp. (Natick, MA) has announced plans to read more >>
August 10th, 2007
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Women who receive breast implants are three times more likely to commit suicide than those who don't, states a study published in the August issue of the Annals of Plastic Surgery and reported on by the Los Angeles Times. The study did not look at the causes behind the suicides, but it's possible the elevated rate could be attributed to psychological problems the women had before the implants, which did not improve. This is not the first time breast implants have been linked to suicides. In fact, suicides are one issue that makers of silicone implants must study as a condition of their products' re-approval for the U.S. market. But it is a further blow to the message the implant makers want to send -- that women will feel better about themselves if they have the procedure done.
August 9th, 2007
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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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