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Will Xience Dominate DES Market?

During a panel discussion on cardiovascular devices at today's RBC Capital Markets 2007 Healthcare Conference, John Capek, MD, Abbott's executive vice president for medical devices, was asked how he expects its much-awaited drug-eluting stent Xience to perform in the U.S. marketplace once it has been approved next year. He said that one year after its European launch, Xience took more than 20% of the market, and the technology took more than 30%, if you factor in sales of Promus, Boston Scientific's version of the same stent.

And he expects something similar to happen in the United States. But why, if Xience and Promus are basically the same thing, are many more physicians opting for Xience? Especially since Boston Scientific has been a player in the DES market for years and Abbott has not? Because, Capek said, Boston Scientific continues to focus its DES marketing on its first-generation product, Taxus. This despite growing amounts of data showing that Xience/Promus is safer and more effective than Taxus. "At the end of the day, clinical data and performance drive long-term utilization," he said, and those factors will likely point to Xience/Promus taking over market leadership. (If this is true, it means J&J's direct-to-consumer ads for Cypher will prove almost meaningless.) So why hasn't Boston Scientific switched its marketing focus to Promus internationally? (Obviously it wouldn't consider making such a switch in the US until Xience/Promus receives FDA approval.) We don't know for sure, because there was no one from the firm on the panel. But it's probably because under the terms of the Guidant deal in which Abbott got the rights to Xience, Abbott is entitled to 40% of the revenues from Promus. The audio from the panel discussion is archived here.

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