Boston Scientific Continues to Be Relentless with M&A

Boston Scientific is set to pick up Cryterion Medical, a specialist in AF treatment, and has acquired nearly half-a-dozen companies since March.

Boston Scientific is set to acquire Cryterion Medical, a company developing single-shot cryoablation platform for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF), for about $202 million in up-front cash. The price is for the 65% remaining stake in the Carlsbad, CA-based company, not already owned by Boston Scientific.

The Cryterion Medical cryoablation platform uses cryothermal energy to interrupt the irregular electrical signals that can cause AF. Developed with a next-generation balloon catheter, advanced mapping catheter, steerable sheath and enhanced console, the system is designed to streamline overall procedural workflow, enhance maneuverability and improve positioning in challenging anatomy.

Performance of the cryoablation system from Cryterion Medical is being investigated in a clinical study in Europe. Clinical evidence from this study will be included in a regulatory submission for CE Mark, expected in early 2019. The company will also pursue regulatory approval in the U.S. and plans to submit an investigational device exemption (IDE) application to FDA with patient enrollment expected to begin in 2019.

"The acquisition of Cryterion Medical enhances our AF ablation procedure offerings, allowing physicians to select a therapeutic option based on clinical preference and specific patient needs," Kenneth Stein, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Rhythm Management and Global Health Policy, Boston Scientific, said in a release. "We are committed to providing physicians with a comprehensive suite of therapies that lead the way for clinical advancements and address the needs of the increasing population of patients with AF."

The technology has the potential to add direct competition to some of the other players in the space, said Mike Matson, an analyst with Needham and Co. 

"The Cryterion platform adds single-shot cryo-ablation technology to Boston Scientific's AF portfolio, which currently includes single-shot RF technology, and mapping technology," wrote in research notes.  "We view this deal as potentially negative for Abbott  ... and Medtronic, (which has been gaining share with its Arctic Front cryoballoon) depending on Cryterion's clinical and regulatory progress."

The acquisition also makes good on Boston Scientific’s CEO Mike Mahoney promise earlier this year to increase M&A activity.

In March, Boston Scientific revealed it would strengthen its endoscopy offerings with the acquisition of London – based EMcision, for an undisclosed sum. A few weeks after the EMcision buy was announced, Boston Scientific said it would acquire NxThera, a urology specialist for about $406 million. The acquisition made MD+DI's list of the top deals made this year. 

In April, Boston Scientific said it acquired Securus Medical Group, which has developed a thermal monitoring system for the continuous measurement of esophageal temperature. Boston Scientific had been an investor in Securus since 2016, and the transaction price for the remaining stake not already owned consists of $40 million in cash up-front, as well as up to $10 million in contingent payments based on regulatory achievements and commercial milestones.

The M&A hot streak continued when Boston Scientific announced it would pick up nVision Medical for $150 million plus up to an additional $125 million in milestones.  

However, in June the tables were turned slightly as rumors began to swirl around Kalamazoo, MI-based Stryker being interested in acquiring Boston Scientific.  Such a deal would be one of the largest mega-mergers in medtech history following behind the likes of Medtronic/Covidien and Abbott/St. Jude. 

But Stryker shot down such rumors and disclosed on a regulatory form that it is "not in discussions with Boston Scientific regarding a potential acquisition."

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