Boston Scientific’s Nerve Device Lowers Blood Pressure

Boston Scientific’s Nerve Device Lowers Blood Pressure

Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX)’s Vessix hypertension treatment significantly lowered blood pressure levels in patients with a hard-to-treat form of the condition that doesn’t respond well to drug therapy, a study found. The treatment, which silences overactive nerves in the renal arteries that contribute to hypertension, reduced systolic blood pressure by 24.6 millimeters of mercury after six months. The benefit grew with time, yielding a 29.6 mm/Hg reduction after a year, the study presented yesterday at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference in San Francisco found.Boston Scientific acquired the Vessix technology a year ago, drawn by a procedure that can be done quickly and in small arteries. It competes with similar products from Medtronic Inc. (MDT), which is presenting three-year results with its device, and St. Jude Medical Inc. Boston Scientific is talking with regulators about starting a global study that would lead to U.S. approval, said Jeff Mirviss, president of the Natick, Massachusetts-based company’s peripheral interventions unit.

The procedure known as renal denervation “is well suited for the future of health care,” Mirviss said in a telephone interview. “It’s very rare to find a technology where all the different stakeholders are on the same side of the table,” with patients getting a health benefit, hospitals getting a new procedure to improve patient care and insurers getting lower costs by preventing heart complications, he said.

Positive Results

The Boston Scientific study is an interim analysis of the company-funded Reduce-HTN clinical trial involving 139 patients. Treatment lowered blood pressure for about 85 percent of patients, said lead researcher Horst Sievert, director of the Cardiovascular Center Frankfurt at Sankt Katharinen Hospital in Germany. The 29 mm/Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure, the top number that measures force when the heart is contracting, would cut the risk of stroke by about 70 percent, he said. Patients still needed drug therapy.

“We are using this technique only in patients with resistant hypertension in the study, when all other medications have failed,” he said in a telephone interview. “The aim of the procedure isn’t to remove medication, but to bring blood pressure down to normal levels,” he said. “It’s of tremendous importance for the patient.”

Boston Scientific declined less than 1 percent to $11.58 at the close yesterday in New York. The company’s shares had doubled this year through yesterday.

Medtronic, based in Minneapolis, will present data at the meeting today showing its similar Symplicity renal denervation system reduces blood pressure for at least three years. The company’s study, the longest running test of the approach, found an average systolic blood pressure reduction of 33 mm/Hg, with 85 percent of patients responding.

‘Significant Milestone’

“These results continue to demonstrate the impact renal denervation can have on patients with uncontrolled hypertension,” said Robert Whitbourn, director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. “As the first and longest-term experience in a randomized, controlled setting, these data mark a significant milestone for the renal denervation clinical community.” years.’’

There are about 1.2 billion people worldwide with high blood pressure, and about one-third don’t respond well to existing drug therapy. Hypertension increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and death from heart disease.

The renal denervation process silences the overactive nerves by burning them with a radiofrequency technology.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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