Don't put all your eggs in one basket or so the saying goes.
After being hit by the falloff of the drug-eluting stent (DES) market in 2007, Cordis (Miami Lakes, Florida), a unit of Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, New Jersey), is taking that advice to heart, putting less emphasis, including less R&D, into its DES basket and more into its non-DES cardio baskets.
J&J reviewed its Medical Devices & Diagnostics (MD&D) and Consumer businesses during an all-day meeting with the investment community in early June 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 will in the future be relying to a lesser extent 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 nearing 60%, Fischer said, "we do not foresee a return to the near 90% penetration rates seen earlier in this decade" when the devices were first approved with much pre-commercialization ballyho.
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 premarket applicatioin 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, Cordis plans to invest in new markets, Fischer and Rogers said, including the abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) market. About 27 million people worldwide have AAA, Rogers said, 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 it is not saying that its DES products are no longer important to the company.
Cordis has 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."
Fischer said that a trend "that we believe works in our favor is an increased focus on long-term outcomes," of DES products. "This benefits products like Cypher" the lone Cordis product in the DES derby and the first DES approved for U.S. commericalization "that have a proven track record of safety and efficacy.
Rogers characterized the many years of Cypher safety data as "unmatched by the competition," and according to Cordis, the Cypher stent has the longest follow-up data of any DES.
"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's future stragies was one of many company presentations at J&J's meeting that addressed recent product launches, its development pipeline and its market strategies.
"Johnson & Johnson remains a company committed to serving unmet healthcare needs with superior science and technology, while growing our businesses profitably for the long-term," said Dominic Caruso, VP of finance and CFO. "The businesses we are highlighting at today's meeting the world's largest medical technology business and premier consumer healthcare 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; Cordis, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Diabetes Care and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in the Comprehensive Care group.
These franchises compete in a global MD&D market that the company puts at nearly $270 billion a year.
"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."