Medical Device Daily

NEW YORK — In his overview of the large firms in the med-tech space, Piper Jaffray (Minneapolis) senior analyst Thom Gunderson in his opening presentation Tuesday at the company's annual healthcare investors conference clearly challenged the big companies in the space to offer something both newer and better. He said they must develop new sources of revenue and provide superior “execution“ as important ways to satisfy their investor customers.

Whether deliberately responding to that challenge, or simply delivering his prepared script, Larry Best, senior vice president and CFO of Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts), appeared to be targeting these particular goals in his remarks in the main ballroom of the venerable Pierre Hotel.

Noting 25 years of both volatility and growth in this fast- paced industry, Best emphasized the company's “consistency of results,“ and promised that Boston Scientific “would continue to deliver solid growth in one of the most exciting places to be — in medical devices.“

While he summarized, as he has often before, the various areas where Boston Scientific has performed in No. 1 fashion, he particularly emphasized two opportunities where the company can both move forward with new products and execute that movement: via continued development of drug-eluting stent (DES) technology and the emergent area of bifurcated stents.

Best pointed to the recently reported one-millionth implant of the Taxus Express DES — along with record sales in 2004 — but said even better is yet to come with next-generation products and the company's plans “to be the leader in coronary stenting for at least the next five years. Our leadership in drug eluting stents is sustainable. We have a huge pipeline.“

He particularly emphasized the recent launch of the second generation Taxus Libertéstent in 18 countries outside the U.S., calling that product not just “another stent with the same coating and the same drug“ but “a revolutionary technology — we've shown that in clinical trials and in practice. We're way ahead of the game in terms of superior technology.“

He added: “Already, the physicians using it are thrilled. It's a much different product than the Taxus Express and separates us even further from our competition.“

Further out, he emphasized the opportunity in the development of stents to treat bifurcated vessels.

“In coronary stenting, the most difficult area is a bifurcation . . . it's not an easy place to stent.“

Taking on these challenges, Boston Scientific, Best said, will be “in three or four years, the leader in bifurcation.“

Driving that leadership, he said, will be Advanced Stent Technologies (AST; Pleasanton, California), the firm acquired by Boston Scientific in December (Medical Device Daily, Dec. 20, 2004).

Describing himself as “very excited“ about AST's technology, he said that the use of bifurcated stents would eventually total about 30% of the overall stent market and further drive the company's profile.

“The bifurcation market is going to be a sweet spot,“ Best said. “AST, just recently, is the first coming to market with a bare bifurcated stent.“ And he promised follow-on with a Taxus DES bifurcation stent.

“This is not just another device,“ Best said. “Believe me, this is a big deal. If you can lead the bifurcation market, it leverages a lot of all the other products in the cath lab.“

No Comments