Pleasanton, Calif.-based Thoratec is getting into the ring with Abiomed (NSDQ:ABMD), preparing its version of a percutaneous heart pump to compete with the Impella device that Abiomed already has on the market, CEO Gary Burbach said at the JP Morgan health care conference this morning.
"We believe, with a leapfrog product, this is a $1 billion opportunity," Burbach told investors at the San Francisco presentation.
The company expects to have a meeting with the FDA to discuss its heart pump some time during the 1st quarter, Burbach told investors today.
Thoratec prepares to enter the market as rumors circulate that the company may be primed for a buyout. The company may need a more seasoned firm to help it push past sluggish growth and reach commercialization, Oracle Investment Management founder Larry Feinberg wrote last month.
Thoratec also hopes to win Japanese regulatory approval for its workhorse HeartMate II* ventricular assist device in mid-2012, he said.
Abiomed announced its new Symphony heart pump, the latest generation in the Impella line of devices, last month. The device, slated to hit the U.S. market some time next summer, represents a "paradigm shift" thanks to its catheter-based implantability, Abiomed CTO Thorsten Siess told shareholders at the company’s annual investors’ day in New York in Dec.
*Correction, Jan. 9, 2012: This article originally called Thoratec’s HeartMate II the HeartWare II. Return to the corrected sentence.