This Acquisition Will Improve Abbott's Business

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Abbott Laboratories' (NYSE: ABT) bid to acquire IDEV Technologies by end-2013 will strengthen the former’s medical devices (Abbott Vascular) business especially in stent offerings for pulmonary arterial diseases (PAD). Abbott Vascular represents roughly 14% of Abbott's total sales, and that mostly comprises various types of drug eluting stents (DES). However, PAD is another very important type of stent that Abbott does not cover at present. IDEV's expertise in PAD will add a new dimension to Abbott's stent business.

Abbott has offered to pay $310 million net of cash and debt to acquire all outstanding equity of IDEV Technologies, a privately held company.

What is PAD

Around 27 million people in Europe and North America suffer from a deadly disease called PAD, of which 8 to 12 million people from the U.S. alone suffer from PAD as per American College of Cardiology. It mostly occurs in the femoral artery and is known as the femoral artery (fem-pop) disease. If untreated, the disease leads to amputation of legs gangrened by the unavailability of oxygen. This chronic stage of PAD is known as critical limb ischemia (CLI). As per Sage Group estimates, approximately 160,000 amputations due to PAD are performed annually in the U.S..

Therapeutic Options for PAD

There are two procedures to treat PAD of femoral arteries. They are the standard femoral bypass surgery (fem-pop bypass) and a new process called angioplasty.

In Angioplasty, a special long hollow tube (catheters) with a balloon at its tip is inserted into the femoral artery. The balloon is inflated once the catheter is placed inside the artery, which makes the opening larger and improves the blood flow. A stent, a tiny expandable metal coil, is placed in the opened area to keep the artery open and smoothen the blood flow. Stent technology is an approved method for PAD and also has been used to treat a variety of cardio vascular conditions for decades. In some cases, surgeries are better alternative than standard nitinol stent technologies due to issues like fracture of stent, insufficient radial strength and bending of blood vessels.

IDEV’s SUPERA Veritas is a self expanding nitinol stent system which is designed by the company’s proprietary interwoven wire technology. The product is based on bio-mimetic principles that imitate the body's natural movement to flow blood uniformly and offer flexibility and strength to the blood vessels. The product can help treat blockages in blood vessels especially, for thigh and knee, caused due to PAD.

Advantage for Abbott

In the US, SUPERA Veritas is already approved to treat narrowing of bile ducts related to cancer. Currently, the product is being reviewed under a Premarket Approval Application (PMA) by the FDA for treatment of the superficial femoral artery (SFA). The acquisition of IDEV Technologies will get Abbott the most comprehensive and competitive portfolio in the VAD (ventricular assist device) market. The inclusion will expand and complement its existing peripheral technology portfolio of guide wires, balloon dilatation catheters and stents.

Potential Market

As per Evaluate Pharma (EP), value of the U.S. peripheral vascular market is around $3 billion and is expected to become more than $5 billion by 2016. The growth is probably due to upcoming devices such as drug eluting stents (DES), drug coated balloons (DCB) and lower extremity stents for the treatment of lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD). 

DES holds a majority of the coronary stent market, about 55%-60%, and Abbott Vascular represents 25% of that. The addition of IDEV will enhance its market position. The global coronary stent market is expected to be around $8.3 billion by 2016 according to Transparency Market Research. Based on that statistic, I expect Abbott to generate sales of $1.0 - $1.5 billion by 2016 in the DES market. 

Competitors

The EverFlex Self-Expanding Peripheral Stent System from Covidien (NYSE: COV) is a stent technology for the treatment of PAD especially for the knee. The product is a Nitinol stent system that covers a diameter range of 4.5-7.5 mm, mainly intended for permanent implant in case of SFA. EverFlex is a vascular product approved in Europe in 2011 and in the U.S in 2012. During second quarter 2013, the company’s vascular products revenues increased at 6% (constant currency) to $404 million, over $390 million in the same period 2012. The growth was due to increased sales of peripheral vascular products.

LifeStent Solo Vascular Stent Systems from C. R. Bard (NYSE: BCR) is the longest marketed stent (200 mm) indicated for the treatment of SFA. The product was approved by the FDA in 2009. During first quarter 2013, the company’s vascular segment sales decreased by 3% (constant currency) to $203.2 million, over $209.2 million in the same period 2012. The decrease was to declining sales of peripheral vascular grafts, stents, and biopsy products. 

Conclusion

IDEV Technologies is expected to receive FDA approval for the SUPERA Veritas stent for fem-pop arteries before 2015. The scope for SUPERA Veritas stent is high due to its superior accuracy, strength and flexibility over other stent products. Abbott already has a strong pipeline and portfolio of market leading products in cardiac and vascular devices and the addition of IDEV Technologies will strengthen Abbott’s position especially in fem-pop arteries indication.


Dr. Kanak Kanti De has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Covidien. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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