Covidien Still Hungry For GI After Barrx Buy
Just as it did with VNUS, Covidien snapped up a smaller leader in a field where it had very little contact – esophageal cancer and its precursor Barrett’s esophagus – with the intent of building a larger presence. Covidien paid $325 million for Barrx Medical Inc., developer of a radiofrequency tool capable of eliminating Barrett’s, a condition in which damaged esophageal tissue presents an elevated risk of developing into esophageal cancer.
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Device companies finished 2013 strong, raising $1.2 billion in Q4, the highest quarter total of the year. CVS Caremark’s $2.1 billion buy of Apria’s infusion therapy business was the largest M&A of the year, and late-stage venture rounds dominated the $423 million total in diagnostics funding.
Three years ago, Covidien signaled its intention to build a gastrointestinal device business with its acquisition of Barrx Medical and its esophageal ablation technology for Barrett’s esophagus. Since then, the industry has been waiting for Covidien to follow through on its strategy to expand its presence in the $3 billion GI market, and that next step came with the company’s recent $860 million acquisition of publicly traded Given Imaging Ltd.
NinePoint Medical Inc. is looking to shed some insights on the mysteries of the esophagus. The venture-backed start-up launched NvisionVLE, an imaging system that can produce real-time images of the esophagus, enabling gastroenterologists to see where they need to cut when performing biopsies of tests of worrisome esophageal tissue including Barrett’s esophagus.