Acquisitions, agents mark tumultuous month

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Conventional wisdom holds that not much business gets done in late December and early January. Like many other cherished chestnuts, the past 30 days has seen that adage tossed out the window—at least within the cardiac imaging market.

St. Jude Medical, belying the economic downturn gripping global credit markets, nimbly swept up Radi Medical and MediGuide in transactions this past month valued at nearly $600 million.

MediGuide, based in Haifa, Israel, develops the Medical Positioning System, which uses proprietary technology for real-time tracking of sub-millimeter size sensors used in minimally invasive intra-body navigation. The Uppsala, Sweden-based Radi Medical develops “shovel-ready” interventional cardiovascular medical devices that should augment St. Jude’s line of similar products to the tune of $80 million in annual sales, according to the St. Paul, Minn.-based company.

Also on the acquisition front, the Rancho Cordova, Calif.-based intravascular ultrasound developer Volcano took a stake in optical coherence tomography (OCT) development with its $21.5 million buy in of Axsun Technologies, a privately held developer and manufacturer of lasers and optical engines for OCT imaging.

Cardiac imaging contrast agents experienced highs and lows this past month. On the plus side, the FDA, at long last, granted Epix Pharmaceuticals marketing clearance for its blood pool MR angiography agent, Vasovist. The agent is used to evaluate aortoiliac occlusive disease in adults with known or suspected peripheral vascular disease.

On the negative side, Acusphere’s Imagify, a cardiovascular drug for the detection of coronary artery disease, was rejected again by the FDA. On the heels of the denial, Richard Walovitch, PhD, Acusphere’s senior vice president of clinical research, resigned to pursue another opportunity.

For more about the latest trends, techniques and issues in the cardiovascular market place make sure to check out our sister publication, Cardiovascular Business. The site, weekly newsletter and bi-monthly print magazine offers comprehensive insight and information about cardiovascular practice, patient and technology management.

Also, if you’re looking for information about cardiac imaging technology, be sure to stop by our Tech Guide. Company and product listings, whitepapers and upcoming events are just a mouse-click away.

Lastly, if you have a comment or report to share about any aspect of cardiac imaging, please contact me at the address below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Batchelor, Web Editor