Cordis, the creator of the first drug-eluting stent (DES), is pulling out of the DES business due to increased competition and stalled growth of what was once a blockbuster medical device.
The company, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, will discontinue sales of its Cypher (pictured) and Cypher Select stents by the end of this year and will cease development of its new Nevo stent.
J&J will restructure the Cordis business, cutting up to 1,000 jobs and closing its stent manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico and Ireland.
Cordis will continue to make stents for peripheral blood vessels, expanding its product portfolio for endovascular procedures and developing a new stent to treat aneurysms in the abdominal aorta. It also intends to develop its interventional cardiology business, Biosense Webster.
“Due to evolving market dynamics in the drug-eluting stent business, we see greater opportunities to benefit patients and grow our business in other areas of the cardiovascular device market,” said Seth Fischer, global chairman of Cordis. “We will continue to bring innovative cardiovascular solutions to patients in the future.”
The Nevo stent had shown favourable results in a 12-month clinical trial. Its new reservoir (RES) technology promised a new approach to stent drug delivery, with the drug released from within the stent struts. It has not yet been announced whether the stent will be sold to another company.
Once a market leader in the DES segment, Cordis has recently lost market share to competitors including Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific and Medtronic.
In addition, last month a US jury trial found Cordis guilty of infringing Boston Scientific’s patent for small-diameter stents, awarding damages of $19.5m; and this month the US Court of Appeals has upheld a decision ordering Cordis to pay $22m in damages to Spectranetics for infringement of a stent manufacture patent.
These problems are combined with a global decline in the DES market due to concerns over the risk of late thrombosis: a report by Swedish doctors in 2006 claimed that DES use increased the rate of these fatal events, causing sales of the device to fall from $5.1bn in 2005 to $3.9bn in 2007.
Cordis introduced the first drug-coated stent, the Cypher stent, in 2002 and, together with Boston Scientific, dominated the stent market until 2008. However, market research consultants Frost & Sullivan estimate that the company now holds only 10–15% of the market share.