Is 2018 Boston Scientific’s Biggest Year Ever?

So, Boston Scientific might have stumbled a bit this year, but it’s worth noting the setbacks are hardly stopping the company from building itself up, through a series of acquisitions, to be an even stronger medtech powerhouse.

Is there any other company in the medtech industry killing it like Boston Scientific is killing it right now? Solid performance and numerous acquisitions have pretty much been the story behind the Marlborough, MA-based company during 2018. (I think we’re around 8 or 9 acquisitions now.)

Boston Scientific has taken a 180 degree turn since it acquired Guidant for $27 billion in 2006. The Guidant acquisition brought nothing but numerous (and we do mean numerous) lawsuits and headaches to the company.

But now, Boston Scientific has put Guidant in the past, and the firm is building its product portfolio. There is a dire need for Boston Scientific to do this because of significant mega-mergers that have occurred on the medtech landscape in the past few years.

Let’s review. Back in 2014, Medtronic forever changed the medtech industry when it picked up Covidien for $42.9 billion. The Dublin-based company’s acquisition of Covidien dominated headlines. At the time, the move was one of the most significant mega-mergers in the history of medtech.

Then along came Abbott Laboratories in 2016 to shake things up even more. The Abbott Park, IL-based company certainly outdid Medtronic by acquiring both St. Jude and Alere. However, the latter acquisition was not without some controversy.

The creation of these mega companies probably led Boston Scientific down the path of M&A, in an effort to effectively compete.

Boston Scientific is taking a more calculated approach with the companies its vying for. The firm primarily has picked up firms that it has already had some prior investment in. So far, the strategy has been effective.

But it hasn’t entirely been smooth sailing for Boston Scientific. The firm has been struggling with its transcatheter replacement valve (TAVR) program, which led to it delaying commercialization of its Lotus Valve.

It should be noted that Boston Scientific quickly changed the narrative on its TAVR program by saying in August that it planned to submit the final technical module of the Lotus Edge system PMA to FDA. This would potentially put the device on track for a mid-2019 approval. The news was well-received by investors.

Another rough patch for the company was scathing report from CBS’ 60 Minutes that uncovered emails suggesting Boston Scientific knowingly bought counterfeit plastic material from a Chinese supplier to produce the devices. The report even said Boston Scientific repackaged the material to hide the fact that it was an imitation product.

However, Boston Scientific fired back at the report and spoke with MD+DI in May about the issue and to clear up any misconceptions. The company got out in front of the situation to help control the narrative.

And while these are setbacks, they don’t seem as if they have really put a crimp in Boston Scientific’s style. The question now becomes, what does Boston Scientific do to continue this momentum?

If the firm continues to move at this rate, we can confidently say that 2018 was definitely Boston Scientific’s year.

 

 

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