Abbott (NYSE: ABT) and St. Jude Medical (NYSE: STJ) today announced Choice Alliance, a multi-year joint initiative that provides mutual U.S. customers access to a robust portfolio of interventional cardiology, cardiac rhythm management, electrophysiology and intravascular imaging and diagnostic technologies.
“Like St. Jude Medical, our goal is to bring the world's best technologies to physicians for the treatment of patients with heart disease”
This enhanced alliance, which builds upon an existing agreement between the two companies that began in 2008, includes Abbott's leading coronary and endovascular product portfolios, including the XIENCE family of everolimus eluting coronary stents, and St. Jude Medical's portfolio of electrophysiology, cardiac rhythm management and cardiology technologies, including ablation catheters, pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), leads, fractional flow reserve (FFR) lesion assessment technology and optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging products. Under the terms of the new alliance, both Abbott and St. Jude Medical will jointly promote each other's product offerings when developing contract solutions with hospital customers in the United States, enabling both companies to present a combined comprehensive cardiovascular product portfolio. In addition, a separate distribution agreement between the two companies grants Abbott the rights to distribute the St. Jude Medical ILUMIEN™ PCI Optimization System, the only integrated FFR and OCT platform, as well as the RadiAnalyzer™ Xpress Measurement System, in the United States.
"Like St. Jude Medical, our goal is to bring the world's best technologies to physicians for the treatment of patients with heart disease," said Lance C. Scott, divisional vice president and general manager, Coronary, Abbott Vascular. "As the worldwide leader in drug eluting stent technology, Abbott is committed to optimizing outcomes for patients, and we are excited about the potential of novel technologies like FFR and OCT for improving patient care. Through this arrangement, Abbott becomes the only stent manufacturer to offer physician customers both an advanced imaging technology with FFR to identify vessels for treatment, as well as the stent therapy physicians turn to most - our market-leading XIENCE family of everolimus eluting coronary stents."
"We are pleased to build upon our relationship with Abbott and further expand the breadth of clinical and economic solutions St. Jude Medical provides to our customers," said Joel Becker, president of the United States Division of St. Jude Medical. "This Alliance provides St. Jude Medical the opportunity to combine Abbott's leading drug eluting stent offering with our leading cardiac rhythm management, electrophysiology and cardiovascular product portfolios. Our companies share a commitment to optimizing results for patients through state-of-the-art treatments for cardiovascular disease with the support of clinical evidence. This agreement allows both companies to provide customers with clinically significant and cost-effective cardiovascular disease therapies."
FFR is a physiological index that determines the severity of blood flow blockages in the coronary arteries. An FFR measurement helps physicians to better identify which specific lesion or lesions are responsible for a patient's ischemia, a deficiency of blood supply to the heart caused by a coronary narrowing or blockage. When integrated into routine lab procedures, as shown by the FAME (Fractional Flow Reserve versus Angiography for Multivessel Evaluation) study, sponsored by St. Jude Medical, measuring FFR reduces the risk of death or heart attack by 34 percent.
OCT is a leading imaging technology platform providing physicians with valuable information both pre- and post-stent deployment to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. OCT is especially important in guiding accurate stent deployment. OCT also allows for the assessment of the adequacy of stent deployment after a procedure, through high-resolution images that show precisely how the stent is holding the artery open and whether it is positioned correctly against the artery wall. Combined, FFR and OCT technologies are designed to enable the optimization of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) by assisting physicians in identifying and treating culprit lesions responsible for ischemia.