Drug Stents: J&J Innovates, Others Stumble
In traditional coronary stents, Cordis/J&J initially dominated the market, only to dramatically lose market share because of its inability to come up with a next generation product quickly enough, before becoming competitive again. In drug-eluting stents, which look to be the next blockbuster cardiovascular product, J&J again has an early lead, but this time its competitors have stumbled.
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A short summary of recent market and product developments covering Peripheral Interventions, Cardiovascular and Orthopedic/Spine Surgery, and Oncology.
Medtronic and Guidant need to play catch-up in the stent race to see who's going to be third behind Cordis/J&J's Cypher, which is approved in the US, and Boston Scientific's Taxus, which is expected to be approved shortly. A key component of Medtronic's and Guidant's competitive strategies will be deciding whether to do trials in the US vs. doing them internationally. Medtronic is doing its pivotal study in Europe, while Guidant is doing its in the US.
Drug-eluting stents (DES), now approved in the US, will be the first blockbuster combination drug/device product to hit the market. First generation DES products use a stent design that remains basically unchanged from bare metal stents, bascially adding thin layers of drug and polymer coatings. Conor Medsystems is developing a stent that is specifically designed as a drug delivery vehicle, while still embodying the attributes required of a standard stent. Conor's stent is based on work done by an engineer with no expereince in the medical products industry, based on technology developed in other areas, bringing a fresh look to the future of combining drugs and stents that may extend to therapeutic applications beyond treating only cardiovascular disease.