Can Stents Pull Off a Disappearing Act?
This article was originally published in Start Up
Just three years ago bioabsorbable stents seemed to be more of a "nice to have" than a "need to have." After all,drug-eluting stents (DES) were seen as the answer to restenosis and showed very minimal risks to patient safety. But the recent concerns over DES have start-ups and corporations pushing harder for bioabsorbable stents.
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Bioabsorbable stents arouse great enthusiasm among both interventionalists and industry executives, because they have one major advantage over current stents, both bare metal and drug-eluting: they obviate the need for a permanent implant when only a temporary scaffolding effect is needed. Many stent companies are hedging their bets, working on stents that incorporate both drug elution and bioabsorbability--but not Paris-based Arterial Remodeling Technologies, which is arguing that natural healing, not drug therapy, is the best approach to therapeutically active stents.
Venture capital investments in stent companies have remained strong over the past three years. According to Windhover's Strategic Transactions Database, VCs invested more than $114 in stent start-ups last year, compared with $31 million in 2006 and $70 million in 2007.
Several interesting studies came out of this year's joint meeting of the American College of Cardiology and Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions. These studies--many of them about drug-eluting stents--will impact device manufacturers in both positive and negative ways.