Royal Philips Electronics NV (PHIA) has partnered with Corindus Vascular Robotics to exclusively distribute its CorPath 200 system, a robotic assisted system for minimally invasive treatment of coronary artery disease. The system was approved by the U.S. FDA in July, and will allow Phillips to advance further into the booming market for image-guided intervention therapy.
?This is a bet we are making, this is a place where we think we are providing solutions that health care needs,? said Gene Saragnese, the head of Philips? imaging systems subsidiary. ?There is cost pressure on hospitals, there is pressure to deliver higher-quality care, and there are more patients around the world looking for access to health care than ever before.?
The market for minimally invasive techniques, known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is is one of the fastest growing markets in the US and is estimated to reach $4.2 billion by 2018. It has transformed the treatment paradigm for coronary artery disease and reduced patient recovery times, treatment costs, and post-surgery complications.
?A large company like us can?t do everything, so partnering with the right companies in the industry is a powerful formula,? Saragnese said. Gene Saragnese, the head of Philips? imaging systems subsidiary
Philips has benefited from growth rates in interventional imaging that are twice the pace of diagnostics in the 17 billion-euro ($21 billion) global market for medical imaging equipment. Doctors conducted more than 950,000 interventions to pry open blocked heart arteries in the U.S. alone last year, according to Amsterdam-based Philips.Marketing the system comes about a year after Philips and Natick, Massachusetts-based Corindus announced an alliance. Philips said it is building reference sites for the system and wants to complete some sales this year. The Dutch company will target the U.S. market initially, and it may be sold globally eventually.
As more hospitals treat patients with so-called minimal invasive therapy instead of open surgery, doctors performing the operation are supported by image guidance that exposes them to regular doses of x-rays, forcing them to wear 50-pound (23 kilogram) lead aprons during procedures that can last hours.
The CorPath 200 system is designed for robotic-assisted placement of coronary guidewires and stent/balloon catheters used in PCI procedures. It consists of a robotic drive and single-use cassette mounted on an articulating arm that is attached to the patient table. Physicians using the Corindus system sit in a radiation- free environment and interact with the patient through the robot, with x-ray technology providing the image guidance. Doctors can also integrate the robotic application with their existing imaging systems. Results from the CorPath PRECISE clinical trial showed that there was a 100% clinical success rate, no occurrence of major adverse cardiac events, and 97.1% reduction in radiation exposure to the clinician.
Philips competes in the global medical imaging market with General Electric Co. (GE) and Siemens AG. (SIE) The Dutch company is No. 2 in ultrasound, the biggest segment of the market, and the leader in interventional x-ray used in the Corindus system. Siemens, based in Munich, has spent billions of euros to expand its medical diagnostics business in recent years. Saragnese said that seeking partnerships with start-ups will continue.
?A large company like us can?t do everything, so partnering with the right companies in the industry is a powerful formula,? Saragnese said. ?They were attracted to us because of the size of our installed base.?
The large PCI market presents the CorPath 200 system with an opportunity to create a niche for itself, and there could be additional opportunities if the CorPath 200 is expanding into other applications. With the adoption of the robotic-assisted system, treatment costs can be reduced in addition to improving clinical outcomes. In the future, this technology can lead to worldwide growth of robotic procedures in cardiology as currently seen in urology.