conduction of atrial fibrillation in cardiac tissue by delivering a coolant through a catheter.
The freezing technology allows the catheter to better adhere to tissue during ablation,
Likely feeding the demand for Medtronic’s Arctic Front system was the Achieve Mapping Catheter, which received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in the first
quarter of FY12. Described by the company as an intra-cardiac electrophysiology diagnostic catheter, the device can be used to access pulmonary vein isolation during the treatment of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. The Achieve Mapping Catheter is deployed through
the Arctic Front guide wire lumen, enabling clinicians to perform the Arctic Front procedure using a single transseptal puncture with minimal catheter exchanges. It is available in
15-millimeter and 20-millimeter loop diameters, enabling doctors to map electrical conduction between the left atrium and pulmonary veins in order to assess pulmonary vein
potentials before, during and after cryoablation with Arctic Front.
Medtronic’s Restorative Therapies Group—composed of the Spinal, Neuromodulation,
Diabetes and Surgical Technologies divisions—generated the same overall sales increase as
its sister sector in FY12. Revenue rose 4 percent to $7.7 billion in spite of disappointing declines in core spinal and biologics sales, which led to a 4 percent slide in overall Spinal sales.
Executives attributed the company’s lackluster Spinal returns to the postponement of
elective orthopedic procedures as well as increased competition and shrinking reimbursement rates. More specifically, they linked the 2 percent slide in core spinal sales ($2.46
billion) to the poor performance of core metal constructs and Kyphon Balloon Kyphoplasty
(BKP) products, which succumbed to the same weak demand and competitive pricing
pressures that decimated overall Spinal revenue.
The destruction would have been worse, too, without strong support from the Solera,
Vertex Select and Atlantis Vision Elite cervical plates.
Biologics sales continued to be punished for the INFUSE bone graft controversy that
erupted two years ago with a scathing series of Spine Journal articles that accused the
company of bribing doctors to under-report risks associated with the product; around the
same time, a U.S. Senate report claimed various studies promoting the bioengineered synthetic bone growth product likely were biased because they were written by Medtronic
employees. INFUSE sales have yet to recover, plummeting 18 percent during FY12. The
decrease caused biologics proceeds to tumble 10 percent, from $884 million in FY11 to
$800 in FY12, though executives claim the company’s Magnifuse and Grafton products
prevented a more dramatic decline.
Spinal’s abominable showing was more than offset by strong sales of neuromodulation,
diabetes and surgical technologies products. Neuromodulation revenue rose 7 percent to
$1.7 billion on the solid growth of the InterStim Therapy for overactive bladders, urinary
retention and bowel control; Synchromed II drug pumps for pain and spasticity relief, and
Activa PC and RC DBS systems for movement disorders. Growth also was positively affected by the third-quarter launch of the RestoreSensor.
CGM systems and international demand for the Veo and Enlite Sensor drove growth in
the Diabetes division, where sales jumped 10 percent to $1.4 billion.
Medtronic’s entire portfolio of ear, nose and throat, power systems, and navigation
products proved to be a worldwide hit in FY12, fueling a staggering 21 percent growth rate
in the Surgical Technologies division. Sales shot from $1 billion in FY11 to $1.25 billion the
following fiscal year. Also contributing to the growth were the August 2011 acquisitions of
Salient Surgical Technologies Inc. and PEAK Surgical Inc. (together, the purchases totaled
$585 million). Salient’s product lines help to seal soft tissue and bone during surgical procedures, while PEAK’s disposable cutting tools combine a scalpel with the bleeding control
of traditional electrosurgery.
Executives said the twin deal represents Medtronic’s“commitment to innovation across
the entire surgical continuum, from incision to closing” and marks its entry into such new
markets as plastic/reconstruction, electrophysiology, oncology and large bone orthopedics.