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Market & Industry Briefs

Executive Summary

Brief summaries of recent medtech market and industry developments. This month we cover J&J's and Medtronic's moves in a-fib, Abbott's acquisition of AMO, Northstar Neuroscience's demise and Invatec's European launch of its drug-eluting balloon. Plus a snapshot of ambulatory surgery in the US.

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Difficult Days for Laser Vision Correction Market and AMO

As economic conditions worsened over the course of 2008, consumers pulled back on discretionary, big-ticket purchases, directly impacting laser vision correction volume trends in the US, including the popular LASIK procedure. At the same time, the cataract surgery market seems to be recession-proof.

Depression Bolsters the Neuromodulation Market

More than a decade ago, venture capitalists identified neurostimulation as a fertile new field for investment, but efforts to date have produced more disappointments than results. The losing streak appears to be over: the FDA recently cleared Neuronetics to begin selling its NeuroStar TMS system for treatment-resistant depression. Meanwhile, Northstar Neuroscience has received FDA approval for the second study of its Renova cortical stimulation device for treating major depressive disorder.

AF Ablation: The Pulse of Innovation

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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