Abbott Ventures: Building A Venture Portfolio in Devices
Corporate venture investing has become an increasingly important source of capital as traditional venture firms remained squeezed. In devices, the latest entrant into the field is Abbott Ventures, which sees itself as an extension of Abbott's internal efforts to build its device pipeline, favoring mid-stage deals in technology and therapeutic areas that fit strategically with Abbott's existing device businesses.
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The hottest major interventional cardiology company, Abbott, moves into the hottest interventional clinical space, catheter-based heart valve therapy, with the acquisition of Evalve, providing Abbott with a platform to build a structural heart disease device business.
Four years ago, lured into a mainstream cardiovascular business by the promise of drug-eluting stents, Abbott set about revamping its medical products business in an effort to create a device business that would rival its pharmaceutical business in financial returns. What was at first a niche strategy, aimed at bringing small, but interesting technologies to interventionalists, has become a more broad-based play that, company officials hope, will place them among the leaders in vascular devices.
In building its interventional cardiology business, Abbott Laboratories has generally avoided going head-to-head with any of the major cardiovascular device players in traditional product markets such as coronary stents. But that is about to change. Its acquisition of Biocompatibles' stent business marks Abbott's entry into cardiology's major league as the company attempts to establish itself in what looks to be the next blockbuster cardiovascular device product market--drug-coated stents.