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Cytyc's Second Child: Dressed Alike, But Very Different

Executive Summary

Cytyc's purchase a year ago of Pro-Duct Health added a product--a ductal lavage catheter--around which it could leverage the clinical and marketing capabilities it had constructed to commercialize ThinPrep, its liquid cytology sample collection platform now used in roughly 60% of Pap smear applications. But Cytyc is facing a much different set of challenges with ductal lavage. Physicians and patients are not used to undergoing a periodic ctyologic screening routine equivalent to Pap. Also, it may take a combination of ductal lavage, biomarkers, and protein expression patterns to distinguish which high-risk women with mildly atypical epithelial ductal cells will get cancer. Cytyc had intended to obtain a molecular marker development capability through the acquisition of Digene Corp., but the FTC shot down the deal. Unless and until it develops internal R&D, it could remain an opportunistic acquirer, like a specialty pharma company perpetually searching for an encore but holding few chips with which to outbid other players.

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This year, more than 192,000 women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer, according to "US Markets for Breast Cancer Detection and Diagnostic Technologies," a report recently issued by Medtech Insight. Breast cancer represents a medical market growing through demographics, but also driven by advances in technology. The US market for breast cancer screening and diagnosis, which totaled more than $2.1 billion in 2008, is expected to grow at a healthy annual clip of 5.4% to more than $2.8 billion in 2013, despite the present economic uncertainty, including impending health care reform and cost/reimbursement issues.

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What do you get when you cross a women's health company that sells screening and diagnostic imaging technologies to hospitals and radiologists, with a women's health company that sells diagnostics and therapeutic devices to Ob-Gyns? A single company capable of selling goods and services across the entire continuum of care, according to Rob Cascella, president & COO of Hologic, who thus revealed the reasoning behind the $6.5 billion proposed merger of Hologic with Cytyc.

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