Healthcare Business News

Medtronic hits the buying trail again, snaps up Dutch devicemaker

By Jaimy Lee
Posted: August 26, 2014 - 12:15 pm ET

Medical-device manufacturer Medtronic has made another deal, this time announcing plans to spend $200 million in cash to acquire a Dutch developer of deep-brain stimulation technologies.

The proposed acquisition of Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation, a privately held company based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, would build out Medtronic's portfolio of neuromodulation products.

Minneapolis-based Medtronic said the deal is an example of the company's strategy to become the “partner of choice” to neurosurgeons. Sapiens' technologies, which are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, are being developed with an aim to reduce procedure times and lessen the side effects associated with brain stimulation, the companies said in a release. A company spokesman said that it may take a number of years to complete clinical research and receive regulatory approvals for the Sapiens technology.

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Brain stimulation devices are used to treat neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and tremors. They act like a pacemaker, sending electrical impulses to different parts of the brain.

Medtronic's neuromodulation portfolio includes devices, such as implantable neurostimulators, as well as drug delivery systems, that are used to treat chronic pain and common movement disorders. The company's neuromodulation business generates about 11% of total revenues. Sales in Medtronic's neuromodulation segment grew 5% to $1.9 billion in fiscal 2014, compared to $1.8 billion in 2013.

The announcement to acquire Sapiens follows Medtronic's plan to buy Coviden, an Irish manufacturer of medical supplies, for $42.9 billion.

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak in July told Modern Healthcare that the company is looking to make deals in three categories: cardiovascular, neuromusculoskeletal and diabetes. “We look at different companies with different unique technologies to help fill out our expertise in those three clinical areas,” he said then.

Other devicemakers also are spending money to boost their neuromodulation portfolios. St. Jude Medical, based in St. Paul, Minn., announced this year that it would buy NeuroTherm, which makes radiofrequency ablation devices, for $200 million.

Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee

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