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Abbott Finally Pulls the Trigger on Cephea Acquisition

The acquisition comes hot on the heels of Boston Scientific making a significant acquisition into the mitral valve space.

It was only a matter of time before Abbott Laboratories exercised its option to acquire Cephea Valve Technologies, a company it first invested in back in 2015. The Abbott Park, IL-based company announced on Wednesday it would acquire the mitral valve maker for an undisclosed sum.

Cephea's technology is being developed to provide an option for people whose diseased mitral valves need to be replaced. The artificial valve is designed to be delivered through a vein in the leg, forgoing the need for open-heart surgery. Replacement of the diseased mitral valve restores normal blood flow through the heart.

"The acquisition of Cephea builds on Abbott's strong position in structural heart therapies and is consistent with our strategy to develop comprehensive treatments for people with mitral valve disease," Michael Dale, vice president of Abbott's structural heart business, said in a statement. "Cephea's novel approach to replace the mitral valve adds to our other catheter-based technologies and is being developed to provide an additional option for patients who suffer from this difficult-to-treat disease."

Abbott began investing in Cephea around the same it acquired, Roseville, MN-based Tendyne Holdings for $225 million plus additional milestones. Tendyne was developing the Bioprosthetic mitral valve.

Abbott has been working on making investments and acquisitions in the mitral heart repair space for nearly a decade now. In 2009, the company acquired Evalve for the MitraClip technology. The MitraClip is a device to repair leaky heart valves and was launched in Europe in 2008 and the U.S. in 2013.

Structural Heart Beats

The Cephea buy comes on the heels of two significant occurrences in the structural heart space.

The first occurrence happened late in 2018, when Boston Scientific announced its intention to acquire the remaining shares of Millipede Inc., a company developing the Iris Transcatheter Annuloplasty Ring System for the treatment of patients with severe mitral regurgitation.

The deal will have Boston Scientific doling out $325 million with a $125 million payment becoming available upon achievement of a commercial milestone.

Such a move helped give Boston Scientific a larger pathway into the mitral valve market – something it was lagging in when compared to its other competitors. Recall, that most larger medtech firms began making significant movements in the mitral valve space in 2015.

The second occurrence in the cardiology space was FDA giving a green light to Abbott’s Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder,the first device approved for use in babies (that can weigh as little as two pounds) to treat patent ductus arteriosus, a common congenital defect.

Piccolo’s approval and Cephea’s acquisition are two measures set to further bolster Abbott’s structural heart offerings.

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