Thursday, June 16, 2011


I read with great surprise this morning that Johnson and Johnson Cordis is getting out of the coronary stent business and has also stopped development of its latest NEVO stent. The timing is a real surprise, although those of us in this line, knew that things were not well in JnJ Cordis for awhile.
I first became associated with Johnson and Johnson Interventional way back in 1991 when I first saw the PS153 bare metal stent in Toulouse, and wanted to have it for our Malaysian patients. JnJ Interventional at that time arranged for me to be proctored and as an FDA co-investigator, began to use the stent. At that time, it was just JnJ. They later acquired a rival company, Cordis Niche ( Hong Kong based ) as Cordis were making good balloons and guidewires. Remember, JnJ had a stent and no balloon or guidewire. Maybe the bosses felt that with the Cordis acquisition they will have their own patented balloon. This marriage got on quite well, and JnJ Interventional became JnJ Cordis. I was a bit upset that all mt friends in JnJ one by one began to leave JnJ, and I also found that the business philosophy of Cordis, was quite different from that of JnJ. I had some very good friends in JnJ who took me into their confidence, when I was starting on this road.
Anyway, JnJ Cordis did well at the beginning. They brought out the first Drug Eluting stent ( Cypher ) in 2001 ( FDA approved in 2002 ), and that was market leader for quite a few years In many head to head trials of Cypher and Taxus ( the other DES out after Cypher ), they consistently bettered Taxus. However, many companies innovated much faster then JnJ Cordis. We saw the release of the second generation thin strut cobalt chromium DES from Medtronic and Abbott Vascular which were just as good, if not better then the cypher.
Cordis decided to buy a company called Conors Medsystems in 2007. Conors had the patent to the multi-pit stent technology. That acquisition ( on hind sight ) was not profitable. The Conors results ( bare metal stent ) which was released soon after the purchase, was poor. Cordis decided to put their sirolimus drug into the Conors stent ( now called the NEVO stent ). The NEVO I results were so so at 8 months. After 8 months, we hear nothing. All was quiet on the NEVO stent, so I suspected that things were not going right. I kept asking the Cordis boys here in Malaysia what had happened. They too had no information. I thought that that was a bad sign. Now Cordis has halted work on their NEVO III trial, and have in fact stop all work on the NEVO stent. I can only conclude that either the results are poor, or that there is a manufacturing problem.
Cordis also was affected by numerous patent suits, on their balloons. I think that their Cypher stents all these while was mounted on a balloon under license from Abbott Vascular, and that license runs out in 2011.
We began to get bad feelings about Cordis, when they began laying of staff in USA, and of course the silence over their NEVO program. I knew then that things were not going well.
I also had occasions to work with many JnJ, and JnJ Cordis management as they have always been very supportive of all the CMEs that we organise, to help GPs and also Interventionist.
Anyway, we now see the end of an era, in the history of interventional cardiology. JnJ gave the world the PS 153, which launched the era of coronary stenting, and JnJ Cordis gave us the Cypher stent, which launched the era of Drug Eluting Stents.
I must make it clear that the Cordis division of JnJ is still functioning, concentrating on their peripheral devices and also their electro-physiology division. I will still be able to use their guide-wires, balloons, guiding catheters and sheaths.
Thank you Cordis, for giving us the Cypher stent. There are many grateful patients out there because of you.


Loeks said...

When J&J decided to close the Cordis plant in Roden, The Netherlands incl. the R&D departement, they signed the death sentence for Cordis as from that moment, all developments practically stopt. Since then nothing significant is developed bij Cordis anymore. It is my strong believe the decision to close the Roden site is het worst mistake, J&J made in years!

shipsky said...

The Cordis announcement is full of lies and jokes. The ill and poor management of Cordis and Conor Medsystems is the reason leading to the fall.