Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts) has completed its purchase of Interventional Technologies (IVT; San Diego, California) for $345 million in cash, plus future potential future milestones. IVT makes minimally invasive devices for interventional cardiology, including its flagship product, the Cutting Balloon catheter. Jim Tobin, president and CEO of Boston Scientific, said, "The Cutting Balloon and IVT's metallurgy expertise are important additions to our product and technology portfolios, as are a number of other IVT assets." The Cutting Balloon catheter is an angioplasty device using small, longitudinally mounted scalpels to reduce resistance by the lesion to expansion. The scalpels create incisions that relieve stress in the artery as the balloon inflates, reducing the force necessary to expand the vessel. Studies in Europe and Japan have indicated that the Cutting Balloon is an effective adjunctive therapy for treating in-stent restenosis, Boston Scientific said. A related IVT technology is the Infiltrator transluminal drug delivery catheter that directly delivers therapeutic agents into the wall of the artery with high levels of efficiency. The Infiltrator delivers drugs at low pressure via a series of injector ports mounted on the balloon surface. Boston Scientific also reported that it has acquired the rights to a rotational thrombectomy technology developed by Rex Medical (Radnor, Pennsylvania). Terms were not disclosed. The technology acquired from Rex Medical facilitates the removal of thrombus from the lumen of a hemodialysis graft via a percutaneous procedure. Steve Moreci, senior vice president of Boston Scientific and group president for endosurgery, said the company will feature the technique as a platform on which to develop future thrombectomy products.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J; New Brunswick, New Jersey) in mid-April completed its acquisition of Heartport (Redwood City, California), a pioneering firm in the minimally invasive cardiac surgery sector. Valued at about $81 million, the deal was completed following approval by Heartport shareholders. Holders of Heartport common stock will receive 0.0307 in J&J common stock for each Heartport share held. The company will operate as part of the Cardiovations division of Ethicon (Somerville, New Jersey), a J&J company. Ethicon is a major player in the development of products for surgical wound closure and wound management, surgical sports medicine, women's health and cardiovascular surgery. Heartport makes products that enable surgeons to perform a wide range of less-invasive open-chest and minimally invasive heart surgery, including both stopped- and beating-heart procedures. Dennis Longstreet, company group chairman of Ethicon Worldwide, said the merger "creates a new force in cardiac surgery" and added that it "further solidifies Johnson & Johnson's commitment to this growing and important health care segment." J&J said it intends to purchase on the open market the number of shares of J&J common stock equal to the number of such shares issued in connection with the Heartport acquisition.

Physicians Diagnostic Services (PDS; Stockbridge, Georgia), a provider of diagnostic devices and test results, reported the acquisition of the Telemedicine division of HeartAlert (Douglasville, Georgia), saying the purchase will consolidate its "market leader position in the Southeast." Details of the purchase were not disclosed. The new company, to be called PDSHeart, will offer proprietary systems and software for enhanced Holter testing and diagnostic sleep studies. HeartAlert's product line includes a digital Holter monitor as well as a program for sleep diagnostic cardiac risk assessment. Data from both tests can be transmitted via standard telephone lines. "Both products will survive the takeover," PDS said. Sean Heyniger, CEO of PDSHeart, said, "The telemedicine market is an emerging field of medicine and with this deal we are positioned with both the latest technology and best-in-class service to continue to dominate where we have representation. This is a strategic acquisition." In addition to acquiring the Heart Alert product line, PDSHeart will retain Heart Alert's sales force. PDSHeart later reported that has acquired Rhythmark, a cardiac event monitoring company, giving PDS access to new markets in the Northeast. Terms of the purchase were not released. The company said the Rhythmark acquisition solidifies its telemedicine expertise, "particularly in the clinical trial and managed care markets where Rhythmark was a dominant player."

Sagemark Companies (Houston, Texas) has entered into a binding letter of intent to acquire Premier P.E.T. Imaging International (Premier) and Premier Cyclotron International (PCI). The purchases give Sagemark entry into the field of PET (positron emission tomography), a diagnostic imaging procedure for heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders. Premier was formed to own and operate outpatient diagnostic imaging centers throughout the U.S. using PET scanning equipment. PCI was formed to own and operate equipment which manufactures fluoro deoxyglucose and other radioisotopes used in the diagnostic imaging procedures performed by the PET scanning equipment. The companies have not yet commenced operations but are ready to do so. Sagemark said it intends to purchase all of the outstanding shares of the capital stock of Premier and PCI in exchange for shares of the common stock of Sagemark. It also has agreed to provide $1 million of working capital to Premier.

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