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Medtech Companies Focus on Women's Health

July 1, 2006

3 Min Read
Medtech Companies Focus on Women's Health

Originally Published MX July/August 2006


In recent months, a handful of medical device companies have announced their intentions to place increased emphasis on women's health issues. From sex-specific product launches to acquisitions designed to increase a company's presence in the women's health market, medtech firms are exploring multiple ways to grow their businesses by better serving the special medical needs of the female population.



"Women today have an array of medical options for female-specific conditions that they didn't have 20 years ago," says Sherry Marts, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs for the Society for Women's Health Research. "It's exciting that we are now starting to see gender-specific devices for conditions that are common in both men and women."

In May, Zimmer Holdings Inc. (Warsaw, IN) reported that it had received clearance from FDA to market its Gender Solutions high-flex knee, the first knee replacement designed specifically to fit a woman's anatomy. According to the company, the knee replacement was designed based on three shape differences between men's and women's knees.

A couple of days before Zimmer unveiled its Gender Solutions line, Cook Group Inc. (Bloomington, IN) announced the launch of its women's health business unit. According to the company, the new division "will uniquely address some of the most prevalent issues in women's health globally, including infertility, chronic pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapse, and incontinence.



"This new division is taking what Cook has done in the past in women's health and expanding it into a much broader idea," says Christina Anné, global leader for the women's health business unit. Although the initial focus of the division's products will be on urological and gynecological applications, Cook's broad base of medical device experience provides an opportunity for the division to eventually expand into cardiology, endoscopy, and radiology applications for women's health, she says.

In addition to the new Cook unit, several medtech firms in recent months have pursued acquisitions intended to beef up their portfolios of women's health solutions. In May, American Medical Systems (AMS; Minneapolis) acquired Solarant Medical Inc. (Livermore, CA), a privately funded company focused on the development of minimally invasive therapies for women who suffer from stress urinary incontinence.

On the same day as the AMS announcement, Ethicon Inc. (Somerville, NJ), a Johnson & Johnson company, reported that it had acquired Vascular Control Systems Inc. (San Juan Capistrano, CA), a privately held company that develops medical devices to treat fibroids and control bleeding in obstetric and gynecologic applications.

"This represents a strong, strategic fit with our gynecologic business," said Sheri S. McCoy, company group chairman for Johnson & Johnson with responsibility for the Ethicon franchise. "The technology and knowledge we'll gain will enable us to expand our ability to create new therapies for women."

Copyright ©2006 MX

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