Cardima has a proprietary catheter design with a good history of reliable production at a reasonable cost.
The only real question is can the catheter reliably and safely produce a continuous linear lesion? If so, and they should be able to, they may be the very first to get a catheter approved for AF ablation. (It can be used with standard (already approved) RF generators.
If Boston Scientific had any forsight, they would by CRDM now while they are cheap. The catheters would fit perfectly into the EPT portfolio.
HRT is part of Guidant which has been reaping money on its Multi-link Stent. I wonder if this will benefit HRT? HRT was pursuing ultrasound ablation (for VT?) but seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. They must be working on AF just like every other EP company. Did they drop ultrasound in favor of RF? Why ultrasound when RF with TC control is well-proven (two per electrode even better!). What's so different about a Cardima AF device? Every company touts one in development.
Agree that reuse is high, we use to reuse diagnostic catheters but never the ablation catheters. Called some friends (guys I trained with) of mine at 10 different cities and none of them reuse any catheters at this time. 2 other hospitals in town with 4 other groups with EP docs, no reuse.
EP catheter companies have been money loser, EPT comes to mind. Interestingly, the CRDM catheter will not be the easiest
thing to reuse as it is primarily a high torque floppy guide wire like that used in angioplasty and as such, can be bent and will
then maintain the bend. CRDM may be the only company that makes money. Acquiring companies could be Cordis (J&J) or maybe Bard.
Don't expect BSX to acquire, they have a pretty heavy investment into their basket catheter. Medtronic would be a potential but in
light of their vascular division fiasco and their less than stellar ablation catheter technology (Worst ablation catheter in my
opinion and I have used them all), I'm not optomistic.
Cardima's products seem to be rather unique..... but it is my understanding that, in general, the major competitors in the
U.S. market for therapeutic EP (ablation) catheters (the most significant segment) are Boston Scientific/EP Technologies (market
leader), J&J/Cordis/Webster (second) and Medtronic (a distant third). The diagnostic market is a bit different (Bard and St.Jude/Daig
are players). Finally, there are a couple of small, newer companies that do not yet have significant products available but are
hoping to eventually capture a piece of the EP market (e.g.- Cardiac Pathways, ECSI, etc.).
There is excellent information here about the competitors in the EP market for Cardima. So what is different about Cardima? They are the only company with microcatheter (proprietaty technology) primarily used for intravascular (in vein or in artery) mapping versus what all the other companies do, intra chamber (in ventricle or atrium) mapping.
There is a clear niche market (at worse) for these types of catheters. The company is a prime target for a buy out by one of the big players who could use the Cardima catheters in their product portfolio. The only question buy out at what price?
Many of the Company's competitors have an established presence in the field of interventional cardiology and electrophysiology, including:
BostonScientific, C.R. Bard, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, through its Cordis division, St.Jude Medical, Inc., through its Daig division, and Medtronic, Inc.
In addition, other companies are developing proprietary systems for the diagnosis and/or treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, including:
Biosense, Inc., Cardiac Pathways, Inc. and Endocardial Solutions, Inc.
Other companies develop, market and sell alternative approaches to the treatmentof AF and VT, including Guidant Corporation, Medtronic, Inc., and Ventritex,Inc., a subsidiary of St. Jude, Inc., the leading manufacturers of implantable defibrillators.