Devices & Diagnostics

Boston Scientific mocks Medtronic, St. Jude Medical cardiac products

Perhaps it was the room full of stock analysts at the posh Intercontinental Hotel in Boston that got him going, or maybe it was just some gamesmanship before this week’s Heart Rhythm Society meeting, but Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) CEO Ray Elliot threw some elbows Monday. Elliot, speaking at an investor’s conference two days prior […]

Perhaps it was the room full of stock analysts at the posh Intercontinental Hotel in Boston that got him going, or maybe it was just some gamesmanship before this week’s Heart Rhythm Society meeting, but Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) CEO Ray Elliot threw some elbows Monday.

Elliot, speaking at an investor’s conference two days prior to the annual Heart Rhythm Society meeting in San Francisco, dismissed two of his biggest rivals’ new cardiac rhythm management products as a couple of also-rans.

Elliott took specific aim at Medtronic’s (NYSE:MDT) Protecta implantable cardioverter-defibrillator — which was cleared for the U.S. market in late March — and the Quartert quadripolar left ventricular pacing lead made by St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ), which has yet to hit the U.S. market.

Both Medtronic and St. Jude will be touting those products in earnest at this week’s HRS meeting, something Elliot says his company was not planning on doing. Still, that didn’t mean he was going to cede any ice to the opponents.

“Protecta is a catch-up product,” Elliot said. “We’ve had that technology since 2008. I know Medtronic wouldn’t agree, but they’d be wrong.”

The feisty Elliot then took aim at Medtronic’s Twin Cities neighbor St. Jude, calling that company’s new lead “99 percent hype.”

“There’s been a massive amount of curb appeal on the [Quartet], but it’s really 99 percent hype. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

Elliot wasn’t all negative on St. Jude, conceding that the buzz around STJ’s quadripolar lead is the by-product of “good marketing.”

Elliot’s comments elicited an equally snarky retort from St. Jude CFO John Heinmiller, who trailed Elliot by about an hour in making his presentation in the hotel’s ballroom.

“We wouldn’t make comments about a new product before it gets to the U.S. market,” Heinmiller said. “I guess if you don’t have a new product to talk about, then you have to talk about somebody else’s.”

In other words, “It’s on like Donkey Kong, brother.”

Elliot was equally cutting about his own company as he detailed its bloated management structure.

“We could run a country with the head office we have, rather than a company,” he said, adding that BSX still has more than $200 million worth of waste in its R&D department. BoSci’s days as a high-sales-growth company may not come back until after some further belt-tightening, Elliott said.

“There’s no way we can be a 6 or 7 percent growth company,” he said. “We have to be in the zero to 3 percent range [until we can] drive double-digit earnings growth.”

The Massachusetts Medical Devices Journal is the online journal of the medical devices industry in the Commonwealth and New England, providing day-to-day coverage of the devices that save lives, the people behind them, and the burgeoning trends and developments within the industry.

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