Angiotech Pharmaceuticals said a 1,262-patient study showed that Taxus Element, a drug-coated stent developed with Boston Scientific, proved to be as safe and effective as Boston Scientific's Taxus Express in treating blood-vessel lesions. Angiotech also announced that Taxus Element was more effective than a bare-metal version of Taxus Express in preventing tissue buildup in another clinical trial.
Wyeth and Johnson & Johnson last month filed a patent-infringement suit in U.S. District Court in New Jersey against Medtronic over its Endeavor drug-coated stent. The companies want Medtronic to stop its U.S. sales of the stent. The lawsuit "will probably take many years to work its way through the federal court system," analysts said.
Medtronic and Abbott Laboratories on Monday both highlighted the advantages of their respective drug-coated stents compared with Boston Scientific Corp.'s best-selling Taxus stent. One study showed that Medtronic's Endeavor was found to keep clogged arteries open for up to one year as well as Taxus and that its patients had fewer heart complications. Other data showed Abbott's Xience was able to lower the risk of heart attack, repeat surgery and death by 43% compared with Boston Scientific's stent.
In response to recent adverse news from the World Congress of Cardiology conference, Johnson & Johnson's Cordis unit, producer of the Cypher stent, released data that indicated the risk of thrombosis was no higher in its drug-coated stents compared to bare-metal stents. It also reported that patients receiving Cypher were less apt to have a heart attack than those receiving a competitor's stent. The company said a late stent thrombosis study was needed and it will be "the next research frontier" for the company.
The multi-billion dollar market for stents, small metal devices that are surgically implanted to prop open arteries, gained a new player Thursday when the Food and Drug Administration gave final approval for Boston Scientific to sell its new Taxus stent. The drug-coated stent will compete for market share with Johnson & Johnson's Cypher stent.