Abbott, St. Jude Medical deal to close, gets regulatory nod

January 03, 2017
by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter
Abbott has set a January 4 closing date for its previously announced St. Jude Medical acquisition, and the deal has now successfully received regulatory approval.

St. Jude Medical will add medical devices, diagnostics, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals to Abbott's roster of products.

"We continue to deliberately shape our business for long-term success by securing leadership positions in attractive markets and focusing on customer needs," said Abbott's chairman and CEO, Miles D. White, in a statement. He noted that adding St. Jude “creates one of the broadest medical device portfolios in the world.”

The deal boosts Abbott's presence in a number of key sectors, including cardiovascular and neuromodulation patient care, by bringing into the fold St. Jude Medical's assets in atrial fibrillation, heart failure, structural heart, and chronic pain arenas. These combine with Abbott's own assets in coronary interventions and mitral valve disease.

“Together, the company will compete in nearly every area of the $30 billion cardiovascular market and hold the No. 1 or 2 positions across large and high-growth cardiovascular device markets,” according to the release.

It is estimated that the combined cardiovascular and neuromodulation portfolio will hit about $8.7 billion in annual sales.

Plans now call for a number of products to come to market in the next few years. That's important, stressed White, because just having the current best solutions is no longer enough. “Customers today want partners who offer breakthrough technologies along with a broad portfolio of solutions to help them better care for their patients," he stated.

The roughly $25 billion deal first came to light in late April, 2016, as HCB News reported at the time. It was driven by the synergy in the cardiovascular arena, but also had positive positioning impact in diabetes, vision, and neuromodulation patient care products.

"Bringing together these two great companies will create a premier medical device business and immediately advance Abbott's strategic and competitive position," White said at the time.

In October, 2016, Abbott and St. Jude Medical announced a $1.2 billion all-cash deal to sell their vascular closure and electrophysiology businesses to Terumo Corporation.

The transaction depends on the successful completion of Abbott's acquisition of St. Jude Medical and antitrust regulatory approvals. Plans call for the sales to Terumo to happen after the St. Jude Medical-Abbott deal finalizes. If that merger doesn't happen then the Terumo deal would be off, the company stated at the time.

In September, 2016, Abbott Medical Optics went to Johnson & Johnson for $4.325 billion in cash. White noted at that time that the company had “been actively and strategically shaping our portfolio, which has recently focused on developing leadership positions in cardiovascular devices and expanding diagnostics."

Another deal has soured, however. Abbott and Alere are suing each other over their $5.8 billion deal, according to Reuters, which noted that Alere “had failed to file financial statements and disclosed probes into billing and foreign sales practices.”

Some of the new products heading to market from the combined firms include the just-FDA-approved EnSite Precision, which creates cardiac maps allowing precise guidance of catheters during ablation.

In addition, on the near-term horizon, the ConfirmRx is heading to market. This implantable heart monitor provides for remote arrhythmia detection, diagnosis and treatment.

Also on the way are the HeartMate 3, which is used in advanced-stage heart failure is nearing launch; the Portico Transcatheter Aortic Heart Valve, which combats aortic stenosis; the Proclaim DRG system, used for chronic pain; the novel bioresorbable coronary stent Absorb; and the global rollout of the MitraClip, a transcatheter mitral valve repair device.

By 2020 the company believes that it will reach “annual pre-tax synergies of $500 million.”