Boston Scientific to buy Vessix Vascular in a $425 million deal

US-based medical device maker Boston Scientific Corp yesterday said that it will buy privately held Vessix Vascular Inc, a developer of a catheter-based renal denervation system for the treatment of uncontrolled hypertension.

Boston Scientific said that the agreement calls for an upfront payment of $125 million, plus additional clinical-and sales-based milestones aggregating a maximum of $300 million over the period between 2013 and 2017. 

Founded in 2003, Laguna Hills, California-based Vessix is developing novel RF balloon catheter and bipolar RF generator technology.

Backed by European and US venture capital firms, including NeoMed Management, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, OrbiMed Advisors and Christopher Weil & Co.

Its product, the V2 Renal Denervation System is now approved in Europe and in Australia for treating hypertension.

The V2 System simplifies the renal denervation procedure by employing an efficient and effective novel RF balloon catheter specifically designed for this clinical application.

The company recently completed its pilot human clinical study and is enrolling patients at over 20 centers around the world in a 120 patient clinical study for the treatment of uncontrolled hypertension.

Vessix products are not yet approved for sale in the US.

Natick, Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific said that hypertension is the leading attributable cause of death worldwide.  Despite the widespread availability of antihypertensive medications, the blood pressure of many patients remains high and uncontrolled. 

Renal denervation is an emerging, catheter-based therapy for medication-resistant hypertension that uses radiofrequency energy to disrupt the renal sympathetic nerves whose hyperactivity leads to uncontrolled high blood pressure.  Renal denervation has been demonstrated in published clinical studies to significantly reduce systolic blood pressure.

Boston Scientific's president and CEO, Mike Mahoney, said that hypertension is a major global healthcare challenge, affecting more than one billion people worldwide. "Renal denervation represents a potential breakthrough therapy for the treatment of uncontrolled hypertension and is an important part of the Boston Scientific growth strategy.''

''The acquisition of Vessix Vascular adds a second generation, highly differentiated technology to our hypertension strategy while accelerating our entry into what we expect to be a multi-billion dollar market by 2020,'' he added.

Post closing, Vessix will become part of the Boston Scientific' Peripheral Interventions business, whose portfolio includes products that treat vascular system blockages in areas such as the carotid and renal arteries and the lower extremities.

Boston Scientific, the world's second-largest cardiac-device maker, has made 15 acquisitions in the last 5 years. Its latest purchase was made in September, when it agreed to acquire privately-held heart device maker BridgePoint Medical Inc in order to strengthen its coronary artery disease treatment portfolio. 

One of its largest acquisitions was the 2006 purchase of Guidant Corp for $28.5 billion.