It looks as though Boston Scientific Corp. might have left its heart (and some business) in San Francisco.
To say its been a rough week at the annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics meeting would be a grotesque understatement, as the Natick-based coronary stent colossus suffered a series of high-profile setbacks at the annual meeting of thousands of cardiologists from around the world.
The meeting, which kicked off Sept. 21 and runs through Sept. 25, featured the release of study after study showing that BSX’s Taxus line of drug-eluting stents is less safe and less effective than its competitors’:
- Medtronic, citing the three-year results from the Endeavor IV trial comparing its zotarolimus‐eluting stent and BoSci’s paclitaxel‐eluting stent in 1,548 patients, said the data showed a nearly 50 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack or cardiac death with the Medtronic stent.
- Abbott, citing the Spirit III trial comparing its Xience V everolimus-eluting coronary stent with BSX’s Taxus Express, said a study of 1,002 patients three years after implantation showed a 43 percent reduction in the risk of major adverse cardiac events with the Abbott device. (Boston Scientific delivered a weak counter-punch, noting that the study showed better results for diabetic patients with its stent — which has not been approved for use in treating diabetics.)
- Two studies, the Spirit IV and Compare trials, both showed that the Abbot product was safer and more effective than BoSci’s offering.
- Even bit players chimed in, albeit to snipe at Abbott and Johnson & Johnson’s Cordis Corp. subsidiary; OrbusNeich touted data from a pre-clinical trial showing its Combo bio-engineered sirolimus-eluting stent outperforming Cordis’ Cypher sirolimus-eluting stent and the Xience V device in pigs.
- There was a bright spot for Boston Scientific, which after all pioneered the coronary stent market. The Sirtax-Late study examining outcomes five years after implantation showed early differences between the Cypher and Taxus stents eventually evened out.
But that wasn’t enough to convince Pieter Smits, the cardiologist who led the Compare study.
“I’m not going to use Taxus anymore,” Smits said, according to the Wall Street Journal, which noted that Smits’ Dutch hospital received funding both from Chicago-based Abbott and Boston Scientific.
The ultimate proof, however, may already be baked into the pudding: Taxus sales were down 25 percent worldwide during the second quarter, according to Boston Scientific’s most recent quarterly report.