Don't put all your eggs into one basket, or so the saying goes.
After being hit by the falloff of the drug-eluting stent (DES) market in 2007, Johnson & Johnson's (J&J; New Brunswick, New Jersey) Cordis (Miami Lakes, Florida) unit is putting fewer eggs into its DES basket and more into its non-DES cardiovascular baskets.
J&J reviewed its Medical Devices & Diagnostics (MD&D) and Consumer businesses during an all-day meeting with the investment community yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick. During the meeting, Seth Fischer, company group chairman for Cordis, along with Campbell Rogers, MD, Cordis' chief technology officer, told attendees that the business is diversifying its portfolio so that it does not rely as much on its DES products.
"We believe we can build a very robust non-DES cardiovascular portfolio," Rogers said.
Although the DES market has stabilized recently with penetration rates near 60%, Fischer said, "we do not foresee a return to the near 90% penetration rates seen earlier in this decade."
Among the non-DES products the company highlighted is its Exoseal vascular closure device, which "provides remarkable patient comfort," Rogers said. He said the company expects to file a PMA for it in the first part of 2009. The company said it has already completed the pivotal clinical trial for Exoseal.
In addition to diversifying its non-DES cardiovascular portfolio, Fischer and Rogers said Cordis plans to invest in new markets, including the abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) market. About 27 million people worldwide have AAA, Rogers told attendees, and "our goal is to be first to market with a percutaneus AAA device."
Cordis may not want to rely on its DES products as much as it has in the past, but that is not to say that its DES products are no longer important to the company. Cordis has already begun two clinical trials for the Nevo sirolimus-eluting coronary stent RES-ELUTION I and RES-ELUTION II which it says is the first sirolimus-based stent with "unique reservoir-based delivery technology."
Also, Fischer said, "one trend we are seeing that we believe works in our favor is an increased focus on long-term outcomes," of DES products.
"This benefits products like Cypher that have a proven track record of safety and efficacy," he said.
Rogers added that the many years of Cypher's safety data is "unmatched by the competition."
According to Cordis, the Cypher stent has the longest follow-up data of any DES. The device was the first DES product approved for sale in the U.S.
"Cypher Elite and Nevo both build on the legacy of the Cypher stent. We are very excited about both of these products," he said.
Rogers also said Cordis is in the IDE phase with Cypher Elite.
Fischer and Rogers' presentation on Cordis was one of many company presentations at J&J's meeting yesterday that addressed recent product launches, development pipelines, and market strategies.
"Johnson & Johnson remains a company committed to serving unmet health care needs with superior science and technology, while growing our businesses profitably for the long-term," said Dominic Caruso, VP of finance and CFO for J&J. "The businesses we are highlighting at today's meeting the world's largest medical technology business and premier consumer health care company develop important innovations for the benefit of patients, customers and shareholders."
In 2007, J&J's MD&D segment generated $21.7 billion in sales across its seven franchises, which was 35% of the company's total sales. Excluding a decline in the company's DES business, the segment grew almost 10% operationally, the company noted.
The MD&D segment's seven franchises are organized into Surgical Care and Comprehensive Care Groups, and consist of DePuy, Ethicon and Ethicon Endo-Surgery in Surgical Care, and Cordis, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Diabetes Care and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in Comprehensive Care. These franchises compete in a global MD&D market valued at nearly $270 billion.
"We are focused on two core priorities," said Don Casey, worldwide chairman of that group. "Our first priority is to maximize the potential of our current franchises. We've been able to deliver an aggressive pipeline in 2007 and 2008 with several major launches, and we expect most of the franchises to continue to deliver this kind of innovation in the next few years to help continue driving growth. Our second priority is delivering on our vision for Comprehensive Care by developing patient-centric solutions to address chronic diseases."