Medinol, a small Israeli stent company, used innovative stent design and manufacturing processes to develop products that propelled its marketing partner, Boston Scientific, to early leadership in what became the biggest cardiovascular device market of the past decade.
Problems resulting in litigation led Medinol to recently terminate the collaboration after six years, leaving the small firm with the choice of going it alone and having to build a worldwide sales and marketing network, or seeking another partner.
The break-up occurs at a pivotal point in the development of coronary stent technology; bare metal stents are apparently about to give way to the next-generation drug-eluting stents (DES), which present perhaps an even larger opportunity than that enjoyed bvy their predecessors. Medinol is skipping over DES and is already working on the next-generation stent/drug therapy.
Because of consolidation, the stent market is now dominated by four major playuers. Yet, Medinol chose to end its alliance with one of the Big Four to join forces with a much smaller player in this space, WL Gore & Associates Inc. Both Medinol and Gore are R&D-driven, and are betting that the rules of the stent game haven't changed: that ultimately in interventional cardiology, the best technology still wins.