Medtronic buys Epix to boost cardiac ablation unit
- Medtronic said Thursday it is buying EPIX Therapeutics in a bid to boost its cardiac ablation position. The deal is expected to close before the end of April.
- EPIX's DiamondTemp, a closed-loop, temperature-controlled system used to create scar tissue with radiofrequency heat, gained a CE Mark in 2017. The technology, which Medtronic hopes will complement its cryoballoon technology, is currently only cleared for investigational use in the United States.
- Terms for the acquisition were not disclosed, but Medtronic said EPIX is pre-revenue and the deal will be dilutive. The medtech giant said it "intends to offset the dilution."
In October, EPIX announced it had completed enrollment for a pivotal trial to study the DiamondTemp Ablation System in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) and started enrolling for a separate single-arm study for patients with persistent AF.
Atul Verma, the global principal investigator for the second study, said he will continue the research with Medtronic.
"The DiamondTemp cardiac ablation system represents leapfrog technology in the RF cardiac ablation space, a segment of the market where we haven't previously participated," said Rebecca Seidel, Medtronic vice president and general manager of its Atrial Fibrillation Solutions division.
In December, Medtronic closed a $1.7 billion deal for Mazor Robotics in a bid to expand its guided spinal surgery technology portfolio.
On its most recent earnings call, Medtronic CFO Karen Parkhill said the company is balancing acquisitions and stock buybacks, "delivering at least a minimum of 50% of our annual cash generated to our shareholders."
"We've had very good reinvestment opportunities, not just in our R&D but also in acquisitions, we've just announced the acquisition of Mazor, and so we're focused on balancing both," Parkhill said in November.
AF has been a hot area recently. In September, Apple received a De Novo clearance for its EKG app, intended to help catch instances of AF. And Verily last week announced its Study Watch gained 510(k) clearance for its electrocardiogram feature.
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