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Medtronic Acquires 7th Company in 2020

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The Dublin-based company announced it acquired Ai Biomed, the developer of the PTeye system, which helps confirm parathyroid tissue identified visually by the physician.

Medtronic acquired Ai Biomed a little more than a month after its last tuck-in deal was announced. This makes the seventh acquisition the Dublin-based company has announced in 2020.

The deal gives Medtronic access to the PTeye system, a probe-based technology designed to help confirm parathyroid tissue identified visually by the physician during thyroid surgery. Before the PTeye system, surgeons relied solely on visual identification of parathyroid glands. Parathyroid glands are normally about the size of a grain of rice and found near the thyroid gland. Locating and distinguishing the parathyroid tissue from other tissue during surgery can be challenging, even for expert surgeons. The PTeye system uses dye-free technology to detect autofluorescence of parathyroid tissue in real-time in the surgical suite. The system uses a console display and disposable probe. 

In addition, Medtronic said FDA just cleared the NIM Vital nerve monitoring system, which enables physicians to identify, confirm, and monitor nerve function to help reduce the risk of nerve damage during head and neck surgery.

Medtronic said PTeye and NIM Vital are separate but complementary technologies. The NIM Vital system to help protect crucial nerves and the PTeye system to help confirm parathyroid tissue identified visually by the surgeon are complementary technologies that could be used together and enable Medtronic to address two of the most common challenges during head and neck surgery.

“The addition of these two technologies builds on our 20-year legacy of providing innovative solutions that assist surgeons during critical head and neck procedures," said Vince Racano, vice president and general manager of the ENT business, which is part of the Restorative Therapies Group at Medtronic. "By offering these complementary technologies – the NIM Vital system to protect crucial nerves and the PTeye system to help confirm parathyroid tissue identified visually by the surgeon – we're helping physicians address two of the most common challenges during these procedures."

Medtronic is coming close to topping the number of deals Boston Scientific announced in 2018. (Editor’s note: Boston Scientific announced 10 acquisitions in 2018.) However, the medtech giant differs from Boston Scientific because Medtronic is focused on smaller tuck-in deals. Recall, Marlborough, MA-based Boston Scientific paid about $4 billion to acquire BTG in 2018.

Medtronic has had a busy 2020 – frequently making medtech headlines. Whether it’s the company’s sacral neuromodulation patent spat with Axonics or the recent FDA approval of its venous self-expanding stent system, the device maker has seen a furious flurry of activity this year.



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