Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Guidant Corp, Boston Scientific and Abbott Vascular

Guidant (NYSE:GDT), Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) and Abbott (NYSE:ABT) are three of what is probably five big players in the Interventional Cardiology. The other two would be JnJ Cordis (NYSE:JNJ) and AVE-Medtronic (NYSE:MDT).

The story so far seems to be that Boston Sci outbid JnJ Cordis for Guidant. This is old news. The last formality in what was a done deal is that the Guidant shareholders have voted to accept the Boston Sci offer.

After a grand wedding we now await the actual marraige. The facts of life will soon set in. We are all anxious to see which part of Guidant goes to Boston Sci (the obvious one being the CRM-pacemaker part), and which parts go to Abbott. What about the DES division?

It looks like the DES part and also the Bare Metal stent part (Vision stent) will go to Abott. This will allow Abott to become an established Interventional Stent company, with some good stents, quickly. This will make it one of the big 4. In this case, what will become of the Abbott Zomaxx stent (DES)? Will we see anti-trust issues in Europe and USA?

After all the money has been paid or pledged, how much reserve will Boston Sci have left. Rumour has it that Abott has deep pockets, but Boston Sci's war chest may be almost empty?.

What is more interesting is that on 27th March, Guidant announced a voluntary recall of their Xscient V DES, because of some manufacturing concerns on the present batch. We are not told what. A small hiccup? It was important enough for them to withdraw and also delay their important SPIRIT 3 trial recruitment, for their important USA and Japanese market.

The Japanese market is a very difficult market to penetrate. In fact the Boston Taxus stent is still pending approval in Japan. So I am sure Guidant wants SPIRIT 3 to start and finish soon, so that they can get into the all important Japanese market. It also did not go unnoticed, that Guidant was all ready to launch their Scient V DES in Malaysia, by Q2, but this now has to be pushed off for awhile. Is there something more amiss that we need to know about?

Guidant was a good and reliable company with good products. It it's sad to see her go. We wish her all the best, even now.

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