Abbott/St.Jude Alliance Looks A Lot Like Airlines

In short

Abbott and St.Jude Medical have announced what they’re calling “Choice Alliance”, which they collectively describe as a “multi-year joint initiative that provides mutual U.S. customers access to a robust portfolio of interventional cardiology, cardiac rhythm management, electrophysiology and intravascular imaging and diagnostic technologies.”


This newly branded alliance builds upon an existing agreement between the two companies that began in 2008,  and includes Abbott’s leading coronary and endovascular products and St. Jude Medical’s electrophysiology, cardiac rhythm management and cardiology technologies.

Under the terms of the new alliance, both Abbott and St. Jude Medical will jointly promote each other’s product offerings when developing contract solutions with hospital customers in the United States, enabling both companies to present a combined comprehensive cardiovascular product portfolio.

In a separate distribution agreement between the two companies Abbott has the rights to distribute the St. Jude Medical ILUMIEN™ PCI Optimization System, the only integrated FFR and OCT platform, as well as the RadiAnalyzer™Xpress Measurement System, in the United States.

Company comments

“Like St. Jude Medical, our goal is to bring the world’s best technologies to physicians for the treatment of patients with heart disease,” said Lance C. Scott, divisional vice president and general manager, Coronary, Abbott Vascular. “As the worldwide leader in drug eluting stent technology, Abbott is committed to optimizing outcomes for patients, and we are excited about the potential of novel technologies like FFR and OCT for improving patient care. Through this arrangement, Abbott becomes the only stent manufacturer to offer physician customers both an advanced imaging technology with FFR to identify vessels for treatment, as well as the stent therapy physicians turn to most — our market-leading XIENCE family of everolimus eluting coronary stents.”

“We are pleased to build upon our relationship with Abbott and further expand the breadth of clinical and economic solutions St. Jude Medical provides to our customers,” said Joel Becker, president of the United States Division of St. Jude Medical. “This Alliance provides St. Jude Medical the opportunity to combine Abbott’s leading drug eluting stent offering with our leading cardiac rhythm management, electrophysiology and cardiovascular product portfolios. Our companies share a commitment to optimizing results for patients through state-of-the-art treatments for cardiovascular disease with the support of clinical evidence. This agreement allows both companies to provide customers with clinically significant and cost-effective cardiovascular disease therapies.”

We say

This looks for all the world like a deal which gets both companies to where they want to be with relatively little compromise. It takes a degree of bravery to brush the corporate “we can do it all” mentality under the carpet, yet the reality of today’s medical device industry is such that it’s likely we’ll see more deals like this. The fact that it resembles the airline industry’s consolidation by proxy is not lost on us. It’s like a code-share, or even a slot share, where for a few compromises the end result is the maintenance of strategic position as lead players without the cost of building the massive infrastructure demanded to do so. Yes its “only” US (for now), but when it comes to strategic options companies will have more choices like this. Downsize and specialise or upsize by partnering.

SOURCE: St. Jude Medical Inc., Business Wire, medlatest staff