Medtronic to form panel after blood pressure device fails study

Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:05pm EST

Jan 13 (Reuters) - Medtronic Inc on Monday said it
will convene an independent panel of experts to make
recommendations on the future of its experimental treatment for
high blood pressure after the device failed to meet the key goal
of a clinical study.
    The medical device maker announced last week that the
treatment, known as renal denervation, did not meet the goal for
demonstrating effectiveness in the study, though it did meet its
main safety goal.
    The device is aimed at treating high blood pressure in
patients who have not responded well to traditional drug
therapies and works by deadening nerves in the kidneys.
    Medtronic Chief Executive Omar Ishrak, speaking at the JP
Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, said the company
was likely to take an impairment charge for halting clinical
trials of the device in the United States, Japan and India.
    The setback will have minimal impact on the company's sales
projections, which had included a small additional contribution
to revenue beginning in 2016, the CEO said.  
    Medtronic will continue to sell the device in Europe, where
it has been on the market since April 2010, Ishrak said. 
    St Jude Medical Inc and Covidien also sell
devices to treat high blood pressure in Europe.
    The devices work by creating small scars along nerves in the
kidneys. The organs play a key role in regulating blood pressure
by sending signals to the brain that can cause blood vessels to
constrict.