FDA approves CardioMEMS heart device; St. Jude to acquire firm

St. Jude Medical, a medical device company and part owner of Atlanta-based CardioMEMS, plans to exercise an option to acquire all of the company now that CardioMEMS’ heart-failure monitoring device has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

The companies said the implantable device is the first that is proven to reduce hospital admissions for heart failure when used by physicians to manage the care of patients suffering from severe chronic cardiovascular diseases.

St. Jude, based in St. Paul, Minn., invested $60 million in CardioMEMS in 2010 in exchange for a 19 percent stake in the company and an exclusive option to purchase the remaining 81 percent for $375 million. St. Jude said it plans to immediately exercise the option and expects to complete the acquisition in the second quarter of this year.

CardioMEMS says its wireless sensor can be permanently implanted into the heart and blood vessels, allowing physicians to monitor heart rates and artery pressures remotely. Physicians can then provide early medical intervention to head off hospitalizations for patients suffering from heart failure, aneurysms and hypertension.

CardioMEMS was founded in 2001 by cardiologist Jay Yadav and Mark Allen, a Georgia Tech nanotechnology professor. It has grown from a small office near Georgia Tech to a large laboratory near Coca-Cola’s headquarters on North Avenue in northwest Atlanta

Yadav said CardioMEMS, which has 98 employees, will remain in Atlanta, where he expects the business to benefit from St. Jude Medical’s distribution network.

“St. Jude is a great company,” Yadav told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “They’ve got very strong network. This will be a great way to get it (device) out to the largest number of patients and doctors.”

He expects the increased commercial activity will lead to more hiring. “This is a very good thing for Atlanta,” Yadav said.

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