Devices & Diagnostics

St. Jude Medical banks $170M on contact force ablation tech in growing A-fib market

As predicted, the next incremental advances in the growing A-fib heart space may very well be in contact force catheter technology. St. Jude’s Medical is banking on it. The company just acquired Endosense, a Switzerland company that creates contact force ablation catheter technology, for $170 million. If Endosense meets an undisclosed regulatory milestone, it could […]

As predicted, the next incremental advances in the growing A-fib heart space may very well be in contact force catheter technology. St. Jude’s Medical is banking on it.

The company just acquired Endosense, a Switzerland company that creates contact force ablation catheter technology, for $170 million. If Endosense meets an undisclosed regulatory milestone, it could gain up to an extra $161 million. Endosense is one of two frontrunners–the other being Biosense Webster–in contact force ablation catheter technology.

The particular technology that has peaked St. Jude’s interest is the TactiCath, an irrigated ablation catheter that tells physicians “real-time, objective measure of the force” they’re applying on the heart” during atrial fibrillation procedures (as well as super ventricular tachycardia ablations).

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Endosense plans to submit this technology to the FDA for pre-market approval for a paroxysmal AF indication before the end of this year. St. Jude’s hopes to incorporate the TactiCath into its MediGuide platform, as well as its Ensite Velocity Mapping System.

Cardiologist Dr. John Mandrola said this kind of technology is an exciting area for incremental growth in the A-fib market, which is expected to grow to more than $2.4 billion by 2021, according to Millennium Research Group.

“The notion is that knowing contact force, knowing the pressure on the heart will make better quality, more durable burns on the heart,” Mandrola said.

“TactiCath offers important improvements over previous-generation ablation catheters,” said Dr.  Karl-Heinz Kuck, director of cardiology at St. Georg Hospital in Hamburg, Germany, in a company statement. “While low contact force can lead to ineffective lesions, excessive contact force can cause safety concerns. The ability to more precisely measure this force improves procedural efficiency and provides increased confidence that an ablation will be effective in treating complex cardiac arrhythmias.”

According to the statement, “Endosense is backed by Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners,  NeoMed Management,  Gimv,  VI Partners,  Sectoral Asset ManagementYsios Capital Partners,  Initiative Capital Romandie and NGN Capital.”