Medtronic buys Visualase for $105 million

  • Article by: EVAN RAMSTAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 29, 2014 - 8:47 AM

Purchase adds to Medtronic’s offerings for neurosurgeries. The firm also received FDA approval for a spinal product.

Medtronic Inc. said Monday it will spend up to $105 million to buy Visualase Inc., a small Texas company that has developed a system using an MRI-guided laser for minimally invasive surgeries.

Separately, Fridley-based Medtronic announced that it received U.S. government approval to sell its Prestige LP artificial cervical disk, the third in its portfolio.

Visualase will be added to Medtronic’s surgical technologies unit, which accounts for about 10 percent of the company’s revenue.

Medtronic said it made an upfront payment of $64 million for ­Houston-based Visualase. The remaining amount is contingent on Visualase meeting performance targets.

“The Visualase laser ablation technology gives neurosurgeons a minimally invasive option to precisely target and treat small areas of tissues,” Mark Fletcher, president of Medtronic’s surgical technologies business, said in a statement.

The company said Visualase will have a neutral effect on its 2015 fiscal year, which began April 26, and add to its earnings in future years.

William Hoffman, CEO of Visualase, said that selling to Medtronic will bring its system to more doctors and patients. “We are proud of the MRI-guided laser ablation technology and other products we have developed,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the FDA’s approval of the Prestige LP artificial disk opens the U.S. market to a Medtronic product that has been available in other countries since 2004.

The Prestige LP is different from Medtronic’s original artificial cervical disk, simply called Prestige, in materials and the way it is fixed to a spine.

The original product was made of stainless steel while the new one is made from a titanium-ceramic composite that the company developed. And instead of being attached to a spine using bone screws, the Prestige LP uses two rails ­positioned off midline that press-fit into two holes created during surgery.

“Both physician and patients will benefit from having access to another clinically-proven option for treating single-level cervical disc disease,” Doug King, president of Medtronic’s spinal business, said in a statement.

Spine-related products account for about 17 percent of Medtronic’s revenue.

 

Evan Ramstad • 612-673-4241

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