JPM24’s Medtech Tidbits: Acquisitions, approvals, analysis and more

JPM24’s Medtech Tidbits: Acquisitions, approvals, analysis and more

We’ve compiled the biggest medtech news coming from the 2024 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, from in and around San Francisco and all points beyond.

Read on for our continuously updated collection of acquisitions, collaborations, curtain-raisings and presentations, all made bite-sized, and be sure to check out the daily roundups and all the coverage from our colleagues at Fierce Biotech, Fierce Pharma and Fierce Healthcare.

Boston Scientific looks to compete with Medtronic in yet another category, as it enters the sacral neuromodulation space with a $3.7 billion acquisition deal for the medtech giant’s rival Axonics and its portfolio of implants for urinary and fecal incontinence. Boston Scientific described the market as an “underpenetrated opportunity” that is expected to double in size to $1.6 billion by 2028. Axonics, set to become a wholly owned subsidiary by the end of June, saw its annual sales grow 34% in 2023 to more than $366 million. Boston Scientific also aims to battle Medtronic in pulsed field ablation: Medtronic claimed the first FDA approval for the next-gen atrial fibrillation procedure in December, while Boston Scientific has launched a pivotal trial of its Farapulse hardware as a first-line treatment—and said that it expects its own U.S. green light in the first quarter of this year. Read the full story on the Axonics acquisition here.

After scoring an FDA nod last spring allowing its continuous glucose monitors to be integrated into automated insulin delivery systems, Abbott has selected the first in the U.S. to be paired up with its FreeStyle Libre wearable blood sugar tracker. The FreeStyle Libre 2 Plus CGM will now be compatible with Tandem Diabetes Care’s t:slim X2 insulin pump and Control-IQ algorithm. Though this marks the first stateside AID partnership for the FreeStyle Libre, Abbott isn’t the first CGM maker to team up with Tandem. Last month, the t:slim X2 became the first automated pump to pair with Dexcom’s G7 sensor. Read the full story here.

Dexcom has posted its first billion-dollar quarter, following the international rollout of the next generation of its diabetes sensor and a dramatic expansion in U.S. insurance reimbursements for continuous glucose monitors. An early peek at its 2023 revenue report showed a 26% increase in fourth-quarter sales to $1.03 billion—a feat the company said it expects to repeat going forward, with projections of more than $4 billion in revenue for 2024. That will be driven by the continued growth of the G7 sensor, as well as the impending launch of Stelo, a more health-focused tracker sold as a consumer device and aimed at people with Type 2 diabetes who are not taking insulin. Read the full story here.

Medtronic received European approval to combine its latest automated insulin pump with its newest glucose sensor for the first time. For people with diabetes ages 7 and up, the CE mark covers the MiniMed 780G pump and the new Simplera Sync system, which the medtech giant describes as a disposable, all-in-one blood sugar sensor that takes less than 10 seconds to insert under the skin, while requiring no fingersticks. CEO Geoff Martha said he expects tech-powered diabetes tools—driven by “smart dosing” through automated insulin delivery systems and wearable CGMs—to claim more than half of the market by 2030. Read the full story here.

“In 2019, I spoke here, and I announced our first billion-dollar year. Well, today I’m announcing our first billion-dollar quarter.”

— Dexcom President and CEO Kevin Sayer, as the company plots to continue expanding the reach of its CGMs.

GE HealthCare has signed a deal to acquire the AI developer MIM Software, provider of medical imaging analysis programs for radiation oncology, theranostics, molecular radiotherapy and urology. The Ohio-based MIM Software’s portfolio also includes systems for integrating diagnostic images from multiple modalities into treatment plans, automating repetitive manual tasks, and providing assistance in nuclear medicine contouring and dosimetry. The financial terms of the cash deal were not disclosed.

Nvidia’s ambitions in computer-led drug development are coming into focus: A collaboration with Amgen’s deCode will help power its genomics-based foundation models, while programming from Recursion Pharmaceuticals will be added to Nvidia’s BioNeMo generative AI platform. “We think this will become as big and exciting as genomics,” said Recursion CEO Chris Gibson, describing an AI system designed to translate cellular images into research findings on biological processes, which the companies aim to offer up as a service to the wider biopharma industry. Read the full story here.

“We didn’t do a bunch of reorganizations just to kick up some dust and drive change. They were very intentional in terms of empowering our operating units, driving capital to the highest-growth markets, changing our incentives and bringing in some new leaders where we really needed it—whether it be a cultural shift at a particular area of the company, or where we needed some domain expertise that we just lacked, like in global operations and supply chain.”

— Medtronic CEO Geoff Martha, on last year’s major layoffs and subsequent revenue gains.

The handheld ultrasound developer Butterfly Network has obtained an FDA clearance for its next-generation point-of-care device, the iQ3, marking the third iteration of its semiconductor-based, whole-body imaging probe. The company said it comes equipped with double the data processing speed and faster 3D capabilities, with its commercial launch slated for this quarter. “Over 145,000 customers have since realized the value of our chip-based ultrasound. With iQ3, the revolution takes full charge,” President and CEO Joseph DeVivo said in a statement. “Physicians across disciplines now rank our overall image quality at least equal to traditional piezoelectric-based handhelds, and our new digital capabilities are designed to make ultrasound more accessible and approachable than ever before.”

Veracyte will pick up fellow cancer tester C2i Genomics and its AI-powered, minimal residual disease-focused portfolio through a $95 million deal. The first fruit of the acquisition is set to be an MRD blood test aimed at spotting the remnants of muscle-invasive bladder cancer. From there, Veracyte said it plans to develop new tests for lingering thyroid, prostate, lung and breast tumors. Veracyte also shared preliminary tallies of its full-year 2023 results, including revenue growth of 21% to land between $358 million and $359 million. Test volume, meanwhile, grew by about 24% to hit about 127,000 for the year. Read the full story here.

Embecta has submitted a patch-based, disposable insulin delivery system to the FDA for review, designed specifically for people with Type 2 diabetes. The company, which spun out of BD in 2022, described the wearable as a discreet, automated pump with a 300-unit insulin reservoir. “While 9 out of 10 people with diabetes are living with type 2 diabetes, the majority of the automated insulin delivery solutions currently on the market were designed for people living with type 1 diabetes,” Embecta CMO Henry Anhalt said in a statement, highlighting the need for individualized therapy options. The company also said it plans to develop the pump into a closed-loop version equipped with an insulin-dosing algorithm for a future FDA submission.

Hot on the heels of its AI initiative launched last year, Flagship Pioneering debuted another tech-centric project. The “enabling technologies” program will be dedicated to developing new tools and technologies that can, in turn, be used to develop new therapeutics. It will build upon the Thermo Fisher Scientific partnership Flagship announced last November, and sets the stage for a new collaboration with Samsung C&T. The global subsidiary of the tech giant will provide tools to Flagship’s portfolio companies spanning AI, translational medicine, clinical samples and trials infrastructure—and Samsung will also invest in the Flagship-incubated startups. Read the full story here.

Illumina beat Wall Street’s quarterly earnings estimates, after what it described as its most successful launch of one of its high-throughput DNA sequencers. The company reported about $1.12 billion in revenue from last year’s fourth quarter, representing a gain of 3%. That top-line amount is about the same as the third quarter of 2023, when Illumina fell below its own sales forecasts and ended up cutting its projections for the remainder of the year. Meanwhile, it continues its preparations to let go of the cancer testing company Grail, and aims to have a plan in writing by the end of June. New CEO Jacob Thaysen said the company is evaluating potential sponsors to assist in Grail’s bid to go public or as a buyer for an outright sale. Read the full story here.

Caris Life Sciences is kicking off 2024 with a pair of new collaborations. One builds on a team-up Caris unveiled at last year’s JPM, with plans to pair its “clinico-genomic database” with ConcertAI’s collection of oncology data. Now, Caris and ConcertAI aim to build a brand-new platform, and have signed a multi-year deal to support AbbVie’s development of novel cancer drugs. Caris will also combine its database with Roche-owned Flatiron Health’s own AI-powered platform. Read the full story here.

“I mean we put on different lenses in [business development]. The first one is the strategic one. And we try to go to areas where we already have capabilities and know-how… In the case of medtech, it is in cardiovascular, it is in robotics when it comes to surgery, it is in vision, and it’s also in segments of orthopedics that we think are faster-growing.”

— J&J CEO Joaquin Duato, explaining the company’s M&A rationale.

Barely a month after Medtronic nabbed European clearance of its rechargeable Percept RC deep brain stimulation system, the device claimed a stateside approval, too, for the symptoms of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia, as well as conditions like OCD and epilepsy. The device also works both ways: When the implant sends out signals to modulate the brain, it also takes in a record of neurological activity, which doctors can then use to monitor the effectiveness of the therapy and adjust it if needed. Read the full story here.

Food and facilities management provider Aramark has linked up with Teladoc to launch a telehealth program connecting its ranks of registered dietitians with remote hospital patients. Participating health systems must already have a clinical nutrition agreement with Aramark, which already services more than 600 healthcare facilities in the U.S.

Johnson & Johnson’s Biosense Webster division has claimed the first approval for its pulsed field ablation catheter, with a regulatory green light in Japan. The Varipulse platform for treating intermittent cases of atrial fibrillation comes integrated with the company’s Carto 3D cardiac mapping system. That puts Biosense Webster on track to compete in the nascent market with Medtronic, which snagged the FDA’s blessing for its PulseSelect system in December, as well as Boston Scientific, which aims to obtain a U.S. approval for its Farapulse catheter in the first quarter this year. Read the full story here.


“Some of you may know, I just recently had my tenth anniversary at Hologic last month. And I thought I’d start with a quick quote that one of our employees posted on our website with it, which was: ‘From the Carl Icahn dumpster fire to the juggernaut we are today, well done.’

And while we wouldn’t probably quite call ourselves a juggernaut, I will say that I think our understated nature and trying to post the results before we really declare ourselves to be at that level is kind of what we’re all about. And if anything, I think maybe that understated nature has had our story and the dramatic transformation that’s occurred in this company not fully understood and appreciated by all.”

— Hologic President and CEO Stephen MacMillan, on the company’s new drive to be “bigger, faster, stronger” after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exact Sciences posted about $645.6 million in revenue for the company’s fourth quarter of 2023, for a 17% gain in its preliminary earnings report. That includes a 21% increase in cancer screening revenue and a 12% boost in precision oncology testing sales. For the full year, Exact Sciences expects to approach $2.5 billion for a 20% gain over 2022, or 23% when excluding the impact of declines in COVID diagnostics. The company also announced that CFO Jeff Elliott will step down this year due to personal reasons, and will continue in the role until a successor is named. “Having dedicated nearly a decade to the Exact Sciences mission, including helping Cologuard grow from its initial phases of commercialization to sustainable financial strength, this represents a natural time to transition from my role and to spend more time with my wife and children,” said Elliott.

The AI-powered molecule designer Schrödinger has signed an expanded, three-year software agreement with Eli Lilly, building on their $425 million collaboration launched in 2022. Lilly will have access to Schrödinger’s full suite of drug discovery technologies, from analyzing target druggability to hit discovery and lead optimization. “We made important progress across the business in 2023, working with Lilly and other companies to enable more discovery programs at scale, expanding the capabilities of our platform, and increasing our focus on our proprietary pipeline, which now includes two clinical-stage development candidates,” said Schrödinger CEO Ramy Farid.

CEO Stephen MacMillan took the microphone to describe “the new Hologic” in three words—a medtech company made “bigger, faster and stronger” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2020 through early 2023, Hologic took its windfalls in coronavirus testing revenues and funded a half-dozen deals totaling $1.4 billion in M&A, aimed at bolstering its core capabilities through tuck-in acquisitions—including, but not limited to, the takeovers of cancer diagnostic developers Biotheranostics and Diagenode, as well as the infectious disease-focused Mobidiag. Read the full story here.

Intuitive Surgical had a year to remember. The company saw the number of procedures performed with its flagship da Vinci technology soar 26% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2023, 22% in the second, 19% in the third and, according to preliminary results published this week, 21% in the fourth quarter. And with an estimated revenue increase of 14% for the full year to boot, Intuitive saw its stock price surge to its highest levels in six months. Read the full story here.

The German endoscopic devicemaker Karl Storz has acquired the London-based AI company Innersight Labs, developers of software that helps surgeons create patient-specific interactive 3D models from CT or MRI scans. The purchase price was not disclosed. Karl Storz said it aims to tie Innersight’s AI work with its VentureOne international robotics subsidiary, located in Singapore and Munich, in addition to its other laparoscopic efforts

After rolling out not one but two major DNA sequencing machine launches this past year, Pacific Biosciences put forward massive gains in quarterly and annual revenues. The company more than doubled its fourth-quarter sales compared to the prior year, logging $58.4 million for a 113% increase over the $27.4 million collected in the last three months of 2022. For the entirety of 2023, a $200.5 million haul amounted to 56% year-over-year. And PacBio said it expects this trajectory to continue: with a target of 40% to 50% annual growth, the company said it aims to break $500 million in annual revenue by the end of 2026.

error: Content is protected !!