Abbott Dives Into Catheter-Based Electrophysiology Through Acquisition

Abbott is entering the $3billion catheter-based electrophysiology market with its acquisition of electrophysiology device company Topera, Inc. The deal will see Abbott acquire all outstanding equity of Topera for $250 million upfront, plus potential future payments tied to performance milestones and is expected to close later this year.


Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common heart rhythm disorders and falls into the category of a killer condition, but one for which treatment options exist. One such is minimally-invasive, catheter-based ablation, which is designed to disrupt the transmission of abnormal impulses in the heart. It’s fair to say though, that despite the impression that catheter ablation has grown exponentially in recent years, we’re still living through the early period of the therapy’s evolution. Less than 3 percent of the approximately 12 million patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in the U.S., Europe, and Japan are treated with catheter ablation, leaving a large, unmet clinical need, especially for sicker atrial fibrillation patients.

The recent buzzword in catheter ablation is mapping, which is a recognition of the fact that targeting the electrical source of the fibrillation, the so-called “rotors”  is likely to render the procedure more effective.

Topera is a private, venture-backed device company that has developed an FDA cleared, novel diagnostic catheter(pictured) and mapping software, which help physicians identify and target the specific areas of a person’s heart that are perpetuating atrial fibrillation. 

The fruits of Topera’s labors is a set of clinical results that show positive long-term success rates, even in difficult-to-treat cases. According to an independent, multi-center, physician-sponsored study, using Topera’s system with catheter ablation resulted in a single-procedure success rate of 87.5 percent in patients undergoing a first ablation procedure, and an 80.5 percent success rate for all patients after a one-year follow-up. This compares to only a 50 to 60 percent success rate for patients treated with existing catheter ablation therapy alone.

Further supporting its foray into cardiac electrophysiology, Abbott has also secured the future right to purchase Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics, Inc., which it says is developing a novel ablation catheter.

Physician comments

“Topera’s mapping technology has the potential to change the paradigm for how physicians approach treating people with atrial fibrillation,” said John Miller, M.D., professor of Medicine and director of Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at Indiana University Health. “The ability to more accurately target the areas of the heart perpetuating atrial fibrillation is a significant advancement in the field of electrophysiology, which may allow us to treat more people with atrial fibrillation and lead to better health results.”

Company comments

“There is significant room to use advanced rotor identification technologies to improve the success rate and reduce the need for multiple ablation procedures, and thus improve the health of people with atrial fibrillation,” said John M. Capek, Ph.D., executive vice president, Medical Devices, Abbott. “The Topera acquisition and our agreement with ACT provide a foundational entry into the large, high-growth electrophysiology market, with differentiated technologies that can transform the way physicians treat people with complex heart rhythm disorders.”

Source: Abbott, PR Newswire

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