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Cytyc's Second Child: Dressed Alike, But Very Different

Executive Summary

Cytyc's purchase a year ago of Pro-Duct Health added a product--a ductal lavage catheter--around which it could leverage the clinical and marketing capabilities it had constructed to commercialize ThinPrep, its liquid cytology sample collection platform now used in roughly 60% of Pap smear applications. But Cytyc is facing a much different set of challenges with ductal lavage. Physicians and patients are not used to undergoing a periodic ctyologic screening routine equivalent to Pap. Also, it may take a combination of ductal lavage, biomarkers, and protein expression patterns to distinguish which high-risk women with mildly atypical epithelial ductal cells will get cancer. Cytyc had intended to obtain a molecular marker development capability through the acquisition of Digene Corp., but the FTC shot down the deal. Unless and until it develops internal R&D, it could remain an opportunistic acquirer, like a specialty pharma company perpetually searching for an encore but holding few chips with which to outbid other players.
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