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AF Ablation: The Pulse of Innovation

Executive Summary

The atrial fibrillation market has attracted the attention of a large number of established and emerging cardiovascular device companies over the past several years, all hoping to cash in on the huge demand for a simple, safe, and effective therapy that can permanently cure this common, and often debilitating, heart arrhythmia. Most of the research to date has focused on energy-based methods both surgical and percutaneous - to destroy aberrant electrical triggers in the heart that are believed to initiate and perpetuate AF. But no one has yet received FDA approval for a catheter-based ablation tool, a milestone that is widely recognized as key to full penetration of this market. To be sure, they have come close. But obtaining an FDA indication for the more complex AF ablation procedure has proven a much more difficult goal.

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AF Ablation: Finding the Right Mix

For a number of reasons, 2009 was a big year for the atrial fibrillation ablation market. Early in the year, Biosense Webster received FDA approval for its radiofrequency ablation catheter, the first such device to launch in the US with a specific AF indication. That approval was much more than just a landmark event for J&J; it changed the landscape of the AF industry, reinvigorating interest in the funding and development of new catheter-based technologies--a trend that has extended through to 2010 and will likely continue in the years ahead.

AF Ablation: Finding the Right Mix

For a number of reasons, 2009 was a big year for the atrial fibrillation ablation market. Early in the year, Biosense Webster received FDA approval for its radiofrequency ablation catheter, the first such device to launch in the US with a specific AF indication. That approval was much more than just a landmark event for J&J; it changed the landscape of the AF industry, reinvigorating interest in the funding and development of new catheter-based technologies--a trend that has extended through to 2010 and will likely continue in the years ahead.

Medtronic: Doing Just What the Doctors Order

Medtronic has recruited physician opinion leaders for strategic management positions in most of its operating divisions. The company believes this strategy will help bring them closer to customers and expedite the bedside-to-bench process for developing new products.

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