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Edwards Bolsters Mitral and Tricuspid Valve Offering with Valtech Cardio Buy

Edwards Lifesciences announced an agreement to acquire Valtech Cardio Ltd., maker of a system for transcatheter repair of mitral and tricuspid valves, for $340 million plus potential milestone payments.

Transcatheter heart valve giant Edwards Lifesciences has chosen to boost its transcatheter mitral and tricuspid valve repair portfolio. The company announced November 28 that it has agreed to acquire Israeli company Valtech Cardio Ltd. for $340 million with the potential for up to $350 million in additional payments contingent on reaching certain milestones.

Valtech's Cardioband System

Valtech has had CE Mark for its Cardioband transseptal mitral repair system since September 2015. and a CE Mark trial for a tricuspid repair system is underway. Designed for minimally invasive repair of these heart valves in patients with mitral or tricuspid regurgitation, the Cardioband System is delivered via the femoral vein and across the heart's septum. According to the Edwards Lifesciences' press release announcing the acquisition, the system "features a unique segmental deployment that conforms to each patient's specific annular geometry."

Edwards Lifesciences, which was named 2016 Medtech Company of the Year by Qmed's sister publication Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, is focusing on the mitral valve as the next target for minimally invasive device therapies. While transcatheter mitral valve repair solutions exist, Edwards and many other companies like Abbott, Medtronic, and Neovasc are racing to develop viable transcatheter mitral valve replacement systems.

Edwards has already expressed interest in the transcatheter mitral valve repair space. In December 2015, the company made a structured investment in Harpoon Medical, a transcatheter mitral valve repair company, with an exclusive option to buy. Michael Mussallem, Edwards' chairman and CEO, has previously describe transactheter mitral repair as a good option in a "tool kit" for treating mitral regurgitation patients.

Mussallem echoed those comments in the November 28 release. "As we continue to pursue multiple therapies to address the diverse needs of patients affected by heart valve disease, we saw an important opportunity to incorporate Valtech's technologies into our comprehensive heart valve repair and replacement portfolio," Mussallem said. "We recognize that physicians will likely need a toolbox of options to treat their patients most effectively. We are very pleased with the progress and future prospects of the multiple internal programs we have underway, and we believe the addition of Valtech's talented team and mitral and tricuspid technologies will present even more opportunities to help patients."

Valtech is no stranger to the acquisition process. In September 2015, left ventricular assist device maker HeartWare--now part of Medtronic--announced its intention to acquire Valtech. Engaged Capital, a HeartWare shareholder, publicly opposed the deal with calls for the LVAD maker to terminate the transaction. In January 2016, the two companies announced the termination of the proposed deal. HeartWare described the decision as part of a strategy to refocus on "the strength of [its] core VAD franchise."

The Edwards-Valtech transaction is anticipated to close in early 2017. According to the Edwards' press release, Valtech will spin off its own mitral valve replacement program before the deal closes and Edwards will have the option to buy the program and its intellectual property separately.

Edwards has also been authorized for a new $1 billion share repurchase program, in addition to $277 million still to be used from its $750 million share repurchase program.

[Image courtesy of EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES]

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