A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of going into the gym around 6 p.m. That's the time when all the body builders and athletes tend to circulate in the area.
I also made the mistake of getting on the treadmill next to someone who obviously looks like he runs track for a living. After seeing him run close to 10 mph without breaking a sweat - and I was struggling to do six - I left the gym dejected. The competition in there was just too great. How could I possibly keep up with someone who can do a mile in what looks to be three minutes flat?
A couple of weeks ago, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) did something similar. Faced with increasing competition in the drug eluting stent market, the firm threw in the towel and said that its Cordis Business unit would discontinue its Cypher line and stop development of its upcoming Nevo stent.
Apparently increased competition coupled with criticism that DES may increase the risk of potentially fatal clots in the form of late thrombosis were the two main culprits for J&J's demise in developing the stents.
It should be pointed out that J&J will continue to make stents for blood vessels outside the heart, particularly in the legs and feet, and is developing one to treat life-threatening aneurysms in the abdominal aorta, a major vessel that distributes blood to arteries below the waist.
So, they're not entirely giving up on the stent business, just DES. But in the meantime, what does this say for the DES market? At the current moment I'd say the market is in a state of flux. In the next few months, I think we're going to see med-tech firms scramble to pickup that market share that J&J is abandoning.
I even think that we could probably see other firms try to acquire J&J's Cypher technology, more specifically these firms might make a play for the Nevo stent. A J&J spokeswoman that MDD spoke to when the story first broke, didn't confirm or deny that there was a possiblity that the company could put the technology up for sale.
Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see how this new development impacts the continuing story of DES.