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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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There have been a number of problems with infusion pumps in recent years. Now Baxter finds itself with another one on its hands. But this one appears to center on faulty data, not a technological issue. A Class I recall was announced last week, and FDA issued an update on Friday. The firm found that some repair, inspection, and test data sheets, which included electrical safety data for the pumps, were falsified. That means it is possible that some pumps sent away for service that patients believed were fixed in fact weren't. Patients are advised to return affected pumps to Baxter for repeat servicing. The models affected are Baxter Colleague and Flo-Gard volumetric infusion pumps, model numbers 2M8151 and 2M8153, Colleague CX volumetric infusion pumps, model numbers 2M8161 and 2M8163, and Flo-Gard volumetric infusion pumps, model numbers 2M8063...
July 30th, 2007
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Medtronic Inc. (Minneapolis) announced it will buy Kyphon Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) for $3.9 billion. The purchase will expand Medtronic's spinal portfolio to include the treatment of older patients with spinal conditions. The addition of Kyphon will give patients of all age ranges access to more minimally invasive spinal treatments. Months ago, Medtronic CEO Art Collins said that the company's growth was dependent upon having a diverse line of products. Once the acquisition is completed, Medtronic will also drop the lawsuit it filed against Kyphon over four patents involving catheters and spinal treatments.
July 27th, 2007
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During the past year, a lot of attention has been given to the potential link between head injuries in NFL players and the serious effects it may cause later in life. One pro football team will become the first to try out a technology that could help identify brain injuries sooner than later. This season, the Oakland Raiders will be using a portable and cordless computed tomography (CT) scanner to aid in identiying head injuries onsite. NeuroLogica Corp's (Danvers, MA) CereTom scanner instantly generates images of the neck and head in minutes to help diagnose brain injuries and bleeding. It can also reveal injuries to the elbows, knees, and ankles. After the scan is completed, it can be wirelessly transmitted to a doctor for diagnosis. As a side note, the NFL formed a traumatic brain injury committee and announced earlier this year that it's planning on looking at the potential link between...
July 27th, 2007
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