The medical devices sector is booming with activity as evidenced by the 114% year-over-year increase in industry-funded medical devices trial starts for the period of January through May. This week, we explore new technologies contributing to the medical devices boom, including a miniature surgical robot for needle-based procedures and new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology that reduces heart scan imaging time by up to 90%. We also look at industry giants collaborating to create the first public browsable genetic database, the hot biotech initial public offering market and another global contract research organization (CRO) changing hands.
Each week, we highlight five things you need to know in the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
Interventional Systems has received Food and Drug Administration approval for its surgical robot to perform percutaneous procedures. The device is small enough to attach to the operating table and fit between the patient and imaging equipment. It allows surgeons to perform image-guided procedures remotely and away from the harmful radiation that comes from real-time fluoroscopy imaging or computerized tomography scans. A demonstration of the device can be found here.
Philips has put forward a new technique that can perform an MRI scan of the heart in under a minute. The new technique, called Enhanced SENSE by Static Outer-volume Subtraction, isolates and images the beating heart as patients hold their breath. A clinical trial of more than 100 patients using both the conventional method and the new process yielded similar results. Researchers found that the new technique has the potential to reduce imaging time by up to 90% and total door-to-door time for patients by up to 75% to 80%.
Abbvie, Biogen and Pfizer have launched the world’s largest browsable dataset linking genes to human health and disease. The database is named Genebass and is managed by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The dataset encompasses data accumulated from over 280,000 UK Biobank research participants. “Our hope is that this information will allow researchers to better understand the human genome and identify therapeutic strategies that can specifically target the underlying causes of disease,” said Professor Sir Rory Collins, UK Biobank principal investigator and chief executive.
This year continues to be a hot market for initial public offerings with five additional biotechs filing for their IPOs this week. What is most interesting is that of the five, four are pre-clinical while MaxCyte, the furthest along, has one candidate in phase 2. MaxCyte also stands out because it is already listed on the London stock exchange. All are targeting to raise approximately $100 million through listings on the Nasdaq.
5. Parexel ownership in $8.5 billion deal with EQT Private Equity and Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Continuing the mergers and acquisitions momentum in the global CRO space, Parexel’s current owners, Pamplona Capital Management LP, have agreed to sell the global CRO to EQT Private Equity and Goldman Sachs Asset Management for $8.5 billion. The life sciences services sector has outperformed the overall S&P 500 since June 2019. We expect that Parexel’s performance has been similar to its publicly traded counterparts, contributing to the healthy return on Pamplona’s $5 billion investment to acquire Parexel in 2017.