ADVERTISEMENT

Gbanjiah Makor worked in the lab of BridgePoint Medical in Plymouth, a small innovative company which will soon become part of Boston Scientific.

Joel Koyama, Star Tribun

At BridgePoint Medical’s lab, Marine Yang is among those who make a device to treat chronic total occlusions (blocked arteries).

Joel Koyama, Star Trbune

ACQUISITION PLAYERS

• Boston Scientific, with 25,000 employees worldwide making 15,000 medical products.

• BridgePoint Medical, with 52 employees focused on technology to treat coronary disease.

Boston Scientific buys BridgePoint

  • Article by: JAMES WALSH
  • Star Tribune
  • September 19, 2012 - 9:15 PM

BridgePoint Medical -- and its innovative system for unclogging completely blocked coronary arteries -- got a huge boost Wednesday as Boston Scientific Corp. announced plans to buy the tiny Plymouth company.

The privately held firm has developed a catheter-based system that allows doctors to go through or around coronary blockages without bypass surgery. But a pairing with Boston Scientific would catapult the technology into the mainstream, said Dr. Nick Burke, who has used the system for his patients the last several years.

"This is a really exciting thing for them and I think this is really a good thing for the business, because it's going to put some real muscle behind the marketing and the sales force," said Burke, a researcher and cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

The transaction with Boston Scientific, which employs 5,000 in Minnesota, is expected to close in early October, subject to conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The BridgePoint Medical system treats what are called chronic total occlusions (CTO), complete blockages of the coronary artery. Comprising the CrossBoss CTO Crossing Catheter and the Stingray CTO Re-Entry System, BridgePoint's devices are designed to navigate highly diseased coronary arteries to restore blood flow. The system has received both U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance and CE Mark approval. It is currently the only crossing and re-entry system cleared in the United States for use in coronary CTOs.

"The BridgePoint Medical CTO system is a compelling addition to our industry-leading suite of cardiology products," said Kevin Ballinger, president of the Interventional Cardiology Division at Boston Scientific. "This acquisition strengthens our portfolio and demonstrates the Boston Scientific commitment to continued leadership in interventional cardiology."

CTOs prevent blood circulation to critical areas of the heart. Historically, doctors have treated them with bypass surgery because trying to clear the blockage was too risky and could damage the artery itself. BridgePoint's devices are designed to create a pathway that allows doctors to use less-invasive angioplasty and stents.

Burke is an early apostle of the device, traveling the country to conduct training as well as using the devices on patients more than 100 times in the past year.

"We see CTOs in up to 30 percent of all angiograms of people with coronary artery disease. But an attempt is made to open the artery in only about 7.5 percent of cases," Burke said. With Boston Scientific's coming on board, he said, "it should go up."

Burke, who has worked as a consultant to Bridgepoint but has no financial stake in the company and owns no stock, estimated that as many as 40 percent of people with CTOs could benefit from this therapy, which usually allows hospital patients to go home in a day or so.

"We look forward to welcoming the outstanding team at BridgePoint Medical to Boston Scientific," said Hank Kucheman, chief executive officer at Boston Scientific. "The acquisition of BridgePoint Medical is expected to build upon our rich product portfolio in cardiology and represents an important part of our growth strategy in this critical market."

Denis Harrington, CEO of BridgePoint, said Wednesday that he expects Boston Scientific to "bring on" the majority of the company's 52 employees. In January, BridgePoint sold its technology used to clear blockages in peripheral arteries to Covidien. Harrington said the company has been involved in due diligence with Boston Scientific for the coronary business "for two-plus months."

"This is a very good thing for BridgePoint," he said.

The transaction is not expected to have much of an impact on Boston Scientific's bottom line in 2012 and 2013 and give modest improvement in the future, the company said.

James Walsh • 612-673-7428

© 2014 Star Tribune