Covidien acquires Aspect
for $210 million

Covidien Gains a New Aspect

September 28, 2009
by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor
Covidien will pick up brain-monitoring company Aspect Medical Systems, Inc. for $210 million, according to a statement from Covidien today.

Aspect, a 22-year-old company based in Norwood, Mass., is the creator of the Bispectral Index system (BIS), which monitors patient response to anesthetics and is used in almost one-fifth of all surgeries requiring deep sedation, according to the company.

"This is an opportunity for us to expand our product category and get more of a presence in the operating room," Bruce Farmer, Vice President of Public Relations for Covidien, tells DOTmed News.

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Earlier this month, Aspect announced positive results in the journal Psychiatry from trials using a new system that measures brain waves to see whether antidepressants are working. Farmer says these findings were not the main spur of the purchase.

This news could help balance out the hit Aspect's BIS took last year from the New England Journal of Medicine, which published a study claiming BIS should not be part of routine practice, as patients anesthetized with BIS monitoring did not fare better than those knocked out while using a specialized treatment protocol. Aspect responded by saying the treatment protocol was not the standard one used by anesthesiologists, and that in the study BIS-monitored patients had 80 percent fewer "anesthesia awareness" incidents -- which can cause psychological trauma -- than expected, thereby proving its effectiveness.