Boston Scientific agrees purchase of Apama Medical for up to $300mn
Medical technology innovator Boston Scientific Corporation is set to buy Apama Medical in order to expand its expertise in electrophysiology.
Paying an initial $175mn, the fee could rise to $300mn between 2018 and 2020 based on achievements of clinical and regulatory milestones.
The technology in question concerns treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF), a common heart rhythm disorder estimated to affect more than 33mn people worldwide.
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The standard of care in AF ablations is pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) – the application of energy to create lines of scar tissue around the pulmonary veins in the left atrium to block unwanted electrical signals that trigger AF. PVI is currently performed using two different technologies: point-by-point RF-based ablation and single-shot balloon-based ablation.
The Apama RF balloon – a single-shot, multi-electrode technology – is designed to combine the primary benefits of both RF point-by-point and balloon-based ablation approaches, notably the ability to deliver differentiated levels of energy and shortened procedure times.
The technology incorporates built-in digital cameras with LED lights and sensing electrodes on the balloon which allow for real-time visualisation and assessment of catheter electrode contact. This is intended to provide physicians with higher confidence of effective energy delivery and the ability to customise the amount of energy delivered around the circumference of the balloon, while further reducing procedure times when compared to existing balloon technologies.
Joe Fitzgerald, president of Rhythm Management, Boston Scientific, said: “The acquisition of Apama further advances our continued investment in the electrophysiology category, and, upon commercialisation, would broaden our portfolio of differentiated arrhythmia solutions.
"We are also excited about the ability to integrate the Apama RF balloon system with our RHYTHMIA HDx Mapping System to provide physicians with an unprecedented visualisation of the heart during ablation procedures."
The Apama RF balloon is currently being studied in clinical trials in Europe to serve as the basis for CE mark approval, which is expected in late 2018.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”