Boston Scientific to Inhale Asthmatx in $194M Buyout

Xconomy Boston — 

Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) is upping its investment in a new way of treating severe asthma. The Natick, MA-based medical device giant says today it has inked a deal to acquire Sunnyvale, CA-based Asthmatx for $193.5 million.

Boston Scientific, which had previously been an investor in Asthmatx, has presumably been following the California firm’s progress for years. Asthmatx, founded in 2003, has developed a catheter-based device that uses thermal energy to reduce buildups of smooth muscle in the airway, limiting the ability of the muscles to constrict and narrow the airway during asthma attacks, according to the company. The firm garnered permission from the FDA to begin marketing the device, called the “Alair System,” in April 2010.

The buyout deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, includes potential payments, based on sales goals of Asthmatx’s device through 2019, of up to $250 million, according to Boston Scientific. That makes the buyout worth a potential $443.5 million if Asthmatx’s investors get every cent of the additional payments.

Asthmatx has raised at least $92.4 million from investors. Its backers include Boston Scientific, HBM BioCapital, MedVenture Associates, Menlo Ventures, Montreux Equity Partners, Olympus Medical Systems, and Polaris Venture Partners. The company pursued a proposed $74.8 million initial public offering, but withdrew the IPO in November 2006. Yet the company raised $50 million from Olympus in May 2007, enabling the firm to complete development of its device.

The company’s product includes a bronchoscope that accesses the airway through a patient’s mouth to deliver the thermal energy that reduces smooth muscle. The company says that it typically takes three procedures to complete the treatment with its device, and the procedures require only light anesthesia. Patients who are treated with the device typically go home the same day of the procedures, the firm says.

Glen French, the CEO Asthmatx, said in a statement that his firm “will be able to leverage Boston Scientific’s sales and marketing expertise to introduce the Alair System to a growing number of physicians and provide much needed relief to many patients affected by this debilitating disease.”

Boston Scientific and Asthmatx could not immediately be reached this morning to answer questions about the acquisition agreement.

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