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Top Device Stories of 2009: A Year of Economic Revival and Regulatory Risk

Executive Summary

2009 was the most difficult year the device industry faced in a long time, particularly given the boom years that preceded it. Public and private investors grew nervous and sat on the sidelines, as did most corporate acquirers. As a result, most start-ups found it difficult to raise money and VCs were frustrated by the poor returns being generated, especially compared with the previously frothy climate. The silver lining may be that there are signs that the economic environment may be improving and that corporate acquirers will continue to pay a premium for the right deal. Overhanging all of this, however, is the specter of health care reform and its impact on the device industry, whether through a device tax, comparative effectiveness or some unanticipated other result, meaning the industry is far from out of the woods.

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Device Tax, Health Reform Close To Reality As Conference Committee Meets

As the House and Senate work to meld their respective 2,000-page health care reform bills into a single politically viable plan, the device industry remains most intently focused on a mere seven pages of each: the device tax provisions

On-Q-ity Inc.

Formed by the 2009 merger of CELLective DX and DNA Repair Co., On-Q-ity Inc. is developing personalized molecular diagnostics for cancer. The start-up thinks that combining DNA repair biomarkers with its ability to capture and analyze circulating tumor cells provides a complete view of an individual patient's pending treatment options and allows for more patient-friendly monitoring of the treatment's progress. On-Q-ity is currently conducting large-scale trials analyzing the response of DNA repair mechanisms to breast cancer therapies, focusing particularly on the anthracycline class of drugs. Initial studies are based on tissue samples, but the company will begin trials with circulating tumor cells in various cancers later this year.

The Art of the Deal: Device M&A in Difficult Times

Advanced Medical Optics, Ablation Frontiers, Acclarent, CoreValve, Evalve, Visiogen.-no tip of the iceberg last year; they were just about the whole berg in medical device M&A. Starting with AMO last January and ending with Acclarent in December it would be easy to look at the series of impressive device acquisitions that took place last year and be lulled into the belief that 2009 was a banner year for medical device M&A. In fact, just the opposite was true: total deal values and numbers were at their lowest peak in more than half a decade. What does it take to get a company sold these days? To look more closely at the topic, we asked some folks who've recently been on either side of a deal to talk, not so much about the current state of deal-making, but about how successful deals come about in today's environment.

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