Boston Scientific buys Vessix for blood pressure device

Thu Nov 8, 2012 8:38am EST

* Enters renal denervation market with acquisition

* Renal denervation can help hypertension when drugs fail

* Seen as multi-billion market by 2020

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Boston Scientific Corp said on Thursday it will acquire privately held Vessix Vascular Inc, a developer of a catheter-based device that treats high blood pressure by deadening nerves near the kidneys.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to close at the end of November.

One in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Health officials say more than one billion people in the world suffer from the ailment, also known as hypertension, which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems.

Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Hypertension is a reading above 140/90 mmHg.

Despite widespread availability of drugs to treat the condition, blood pressure in many patients remains uncontrolled.

Renal denervation is a procedure in which a thin, flexible catheter is threaded through the body to the renal sympathetic nerves near the kidneys. Radiofrequency energy is delivered to disrupt the nerve activity, relieving high blood pressure.

The market for renal denervation is expected to be a multibillion dollar market by 2020, according to Boston Scientific, a maker of heart pacemakers, implantable defibrillators and heart stents.

The new therapy is not yet approved in the United States, but several products are available in Europe.

Device makers that have received approval to sell hypertension devices in Europe include Medtronic Inc, the frontrunner, St Jude Medical Inc, Covidien Plc , ReCor Medical and Vessix Vascular.

Vessix also has approval in Australia.

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