By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Boston Scientific Corp. will shortly buy Cameron Health Inc. for as much as $1.35 billion to add a new type of defibrillator to its armament.
Demand for defibrillators, Boston Scientific’s biggest products, has plunged since peaking in 2009 amid concerns about safety and overuse of the devices.
Boston Scientific, the second-biggest cardiac-device maker, will pay $150 million when the deal closes and another $150 million if Cameron’s technology called the S-ICD System wins U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, the Natick, Massachusetts-based company said in a statement yesterday.
Cameron may receive as much as $1.05 billion more based on the revenue the device generates. Cameron’s defibrillator is implanted just below the skin and doesn’t attach to the heart or blood vessel with the thin, insulated wires that caused failures in other devices. “The weak link of defibrillator systems to date has been the lead that goes into the heart,” Ken Stein, chief medical officer for Boston Scientific’s cardiac rhythm management group, said today. “The heart beats approximately 100,000 times a day. That’s a lot of mechanical stress. If you are a young patient, you may need that wire to function normally for 30 years.” The S-ICD system is approved in Europe and sold in several countries around the world, with more than 1,000 patients getting the devices. Closely held Cameron, based in San Clemente, California, applied for U.S. approval in December.
“This is probably the most major advance in the field in the last decade,” said Chief Executive Officer Hank Kucheman in a telephone interview today. “It has the potential to expand the reach of ICD technology as we know it today,” said Kucheman, who plans to use the device to increase the $6.2 billion market and take sales from competitors.