USA – Johnson & Johnson MedTech has disclosed a substantial upfront investment of US$400 million to acquire Laminar, the innovator behind a groundbreaking device designed to address complications arising from the left atrial appendage in individuals with irregular heartbeats.

This pocket, often unnecessary and prone to dangerous blood clot formation in those with irregular heartbeats, poses significant health risks if left unaddressed.

This strategic acquisition positions Johnson & Johnson MedTech at the forefront of the rapidly evolving market for heart-related interventions.

This strategic move by Johnson & Johnson MedTech follows closely on the heels of another major player, Medtronic, which announced the market debut of its Penditure implant earlier this week.

Acquired from Syntheon in the summer, Medtronic’s surgical, clip-based approach is tailored for quick add-on procedures in patients with atrial fibrillation already undergoing heart surgery for other conditions.

Abbott’s Amplatzer Amulet and Boston Scientific’s Watchman FLX devices, similar to Laminar’s, utilize a transcatheter procedure for implantation.

A noteworthy distinction lies in Laminar’s terminology, labeling its operation a “left atrial appendage elimination” rather than an occlusion.

The thin nitinol device, unfolding into a small ball and inserted into the pouch, is uniquely twisted around in a circle to gather tissue and securely closed with a patch, minimizing metal exposure and aiming to reduce the risk of blood clots.

The thin nitinol device, once unfolded into a small ball and inserted into the pouch, is uniquely twisted around in a circle to gather tissue and securely closed with a patch, minimizing metal exposure to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Jasmina Brooks, President of J&J’s Biosense Webster division, expressed enthusiasm about the acquisition, stating, “Laminar’s innovative approach will provide Biosense Webster the opportunity to expand our portfolio in this high-growth market, complement our electrophysiology and Intracardiac Echo strengths, and deepen our presence with interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists.”

The acquisition deal includes additional clinical and regulatory milestone payments set for 2024 and beyond, reflecting the commitment to ongoing development and regulatory advancements.

Despite the promising potential, the cost of the deal and future research and development plans will impact J&J’s profit projections for the 2023 fiscal year, lowering adjusted earnings per share and influencing the next fiscal year.

A pivotal human study for Laminar’s device has received FDA approval, with enrollment set to begin in early 2024.

This comes as part of J&J’s broader estimate that approximately 38 million individuals worldwide suffer from atrial fibrillation, significantly increasing their risk of stroke.

Sealing off the left atrial appendage, a key driver of complications in atrial fibrillation patients, has shown potential to reduce the risk of stroke by over one-third.

Biosense Webster previously acquired a left atrial appendage occluder through a 2015 deal for Coherex and its CE-marked WaveCrest system, available in Europe since 2013.

J&J would later announce it had enrolled its first participant in a U.S. clinical trial of the implant in early 2018, with the device aimed at patients who could not tolerate long-term regimens of blood thinner medications.

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