Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) is touting the U.S. release of its Ion drug-eluting stent system as the first step toward bolstering its leadership position in the DES market.
The Ion paclitaxel-eluting stent, which is built on Boston Scientific’s next-generation platinum-chromium Element platform, won FDA approval for commercial release in the U.S. The stent, already available in Europe under the Taxus Element label, brought in just under $90 million in sales last quarter.
Officials at the Natick, Mass.-based medical device maker said the Ion stent uses a “platinum chromium alloy designed specifically for coronary stenting and intended to improve the acute performance of coronary stent implantation in the treatment of coronary artery disease,” according to a prepared release.
The Ion, coupled with the projected release of the Promus Element everolimus-eluting stent next year, is expected to help BSX increase its 46 percent market share stateside, according to company officials. BSX CFO Jeffrey Capello said last week in a conference call with analysts that the company maintains a healthy lead over its competitors at Abbott (NYSE:ABT), Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) Cordis Corp. and Medtronic (NYSE:MDT).
"Abbott’s share was approximately 31 percent, while J&J and Medtronic achieved approximately 10 percent and 13 percent, respectively,” Capello estimated during the call. The total U.S. market for drug eluting stents was about $422 million during the first quarter; according to Capello, that’s about 8 percent smaller than it was during the same period a year ago. BSX saw its own sales of drug-eluting stents drop to $189 million, 13 percent lower than the comparable period in 2010.
Taxus sales make up about 26 percent of the company’s DES sales in the U.S.
“Coupled with both our commercial strength [and] the challenges facing one of our competitors, we believe we are very well positioned to take share in the U.S. with the introduction of the Ion stent,” Capello said. “This will position us very well in the marketplace for our planned launch of Promus Element, which is on or ahead of schedule for a mid-2012 launch.”
The company believes the worldwide DES market to be just north of $1 billion, Capella noted, with BSX controlling an estimated 36 percent, an 8 percent edge over its closest competitors.
For its part, Wall Street seems to be in agreement. Shares of BSX were up about 1.3 percent in mid-day trading.