Boston Scientific executive Dave Pierce sees a bright future for the company’s GI endoscopy and urology technologies.
As many companies did, Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) had to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic and, with the lessons learned, it may be better for it.
Dave Pierce, the EVP of Boston Scientific’s MedSurg segment, certainly thinks so.
“Our team has really persevered and performed at a high level despite all the uncertainty of the past year,” Pierce told MassDevice following the release of the company’s second-quarter financial results. “We as a company are really proud of how we’ve worked to make a safe environment, give employees what they need from a mental health standpoint and help everyone navigate through the uncertainty of the pandemic.”
Year-over-year, Boston Scientific’s MedSurg segment’s revenues grew by 64.6%. A major influence on the numbers was that the previous year, sales were hurting at the height of the pandemic. However, organic growth within the segment has been rising regardless of the pandemic, with a 9% uptick from the second quarter of 2019.
Pierce pointed to the launch of several what he labeled “significant products” along with entry into American, European and Asian markets through such launches.
“I’m asking myself, ‘How are we doing versus 2019, and is the growth where we think it should be?'” Pierce said. “I’m very encouraged by how we’re comparing ourselves to 2019 and with what we’ve been able to do in the markets. … We feel good about where we are, and we feel good about where we’re going to continue to go.”
The Boston Scientific executive also takes great pride in the adaptations made amid the pandemic, with a major pivot to virtual platforms for physician education.
When the company launched its Spyglass Discover system, Pierce said it was a unique product that many surgeons did not possess the skills to use. But, through virtual training, validation and individual in-person in-servicing, the launch was successful and represented the improvement of the company’s virtual education platform.
“We’ve jumped lightyears ahead of where we were, and it will continue to be a strength for us going forward,” Pierce said.
The endoscopy side of Boston Scientific’s MedSurg segment has been bolstered by two major regulatory developments in 2021. First, in May, the company received CE mark approval for its Exalt Model B single-use bronchoscope. Second, last month, the FDA granted 510(k) clearance for the Exalt Model B.
In receiving those approvals, Exalt Model B joined the Exalt Model D single-use duodenoscope, the LithoVue digital flexible ureteroscope, the SpyGlass DS direct visualization system and the SpyGlass Discover digital catheter as a major part of MedSurg’s portfolio. (Dr. Brian Dunkin, chief medical officer of Boston Scientific’s Endoscopy division, recently described challenges Boston Scientific overcame to make single-use scopes work.)
Pierce is also bullish on SpaceOar, a hydrogel spacer. Boston Scientific has developed the SpaceOAR since its $600 million acquisition of Augmenix in September 2018. The absorbable polyethylene glycol hydrogel spacer won CE Mark approval in the European Union in 2010 and 510(k) clearance from the FDA in April 2015. It’s designed for separating the prostate from the rectal wall during radiation treatment for prostate cancer.
Meta-analysis data of SpaceOar last year revealed safe prostate-rectum separation. Pierce said that some time next year, Boston Scientific plans to launch the next generation of SpaceOar — SpaceOar Vue — designed to eliminate pre-procedure MRIs.
“We’re not just showing up in the market with a product; we’re showing up with a product that’s needed, that’s been proven clinically effective, a product that our physicians can use effectively based upon the training that we do with them and products that are reimbursed appropriately,” Pierce said. “That leadership is very clear right now. We’re excited about what happened in the second quarter, but really for the next several years with what we can do for our customers.”