Humble Stent, Prosperous Future

More and more multinational corporations are attracted by rapid developing medical device market in China. Recently, Medtronic, Inc., a global leading medical device manufacturer, completed its acquisition of China Kanghui Holdings (NYSE: KH), an orthopedic devices Company in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province. The total consideration of acquisition exceeded US$800 million. The acquisition caught public attention extensively. It is known that domestic medical device companies in China compete with those MNCs by continuous innovation and gain advantage in the field of high end medical device such as the cardiovascular stent.
Yubo Fan, Chairman of SBME (Chinese Society Biomedical Engineering), introduced that the market scale of China medical device values approximately RMB 400 billion and is escalating by 20% every year, while 80% high-end medical device market share is occupied by foreign companies. However, domestic high end medical device manufacturers, MicroPort Scientific Corporation as a representative, have an excellent performance in the field of the cardiovascular stent over the past 10 years, have realized tremendous transformation from toddling to leap lap, and have occupied about 70% domestic market firmly.
Stent is a mesh tube inserted into a natural passage/conduit in the body to prevent aortic vessel block or stenosis. In China, more than 3.5 million people died from cardiovascular disease every year and the number is still uprising. For the past a few years, in this great demand and high profit market, local medical device manufacturers had lagged far behind of MNCs like Abbott, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. Dr. Zhaohua Chang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MicroPort Scientific Corporation, introduced that "comparing to foreign products, the PTCA balloon catheter technology had fallen behind MNCs' for 20 years, and BMS technology (bare metal stent) for 4 or 5 years, while the DES (drug eluting stent) technology is now keeping pace with."
Despite the decreased vascular restenosis rate with the improvement of technology, the application of DES raises the risk of a later period thrombosis. The patient has to take medicine for a long time after operation to prevent the fatal risk of thrombosis, though its probability is only 0.3%-0.5%.
Domestic medical device companies are striving to deal with this problem. Lepu Medical Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., a medical device manufacturer once ranked first of A-share GEM (growth enterprise market), launched Polymer-free Sirolimus-eluting Coronary Stent System in 2011. Weina Jiang, a securities researcher of Orient Securities Company Limited, commented that "Despite the slowing down growth traditional stents, the market of polymer-free stent has made a breakthrough with a trend of continuous development."
Meanwhile, MicroPort Scientific Corporation (HK 00853), a Company listed in HKEx dominating domestic market share, introduced its third generation DES which was positively recommended by Dr. Martin B Leon, the Chairman of TCT (Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics, the world's largest educational meeting specializing in interventional cardiovascular medicine) in TCT 2012 this October.
Firehawk® Rapamycin Target Eluting Coronary Stent is the third generation drug-eluting stent system designed and manufactured exclusively by MicroPort Medical. It effectively decreases the probability of thrombosis by target release the drug directly to vessel, and significantly reduces the period of taking medicine after operation for patients.
The third generation drug-eluting stent system makes innovation in both concept and craftwork. Zhirong Tang, the Vice President of Coronary Products of MicroPort commented that: "It is difficult to make a trough on a stent as delicate as hair and it is even more difficult to fill the trough with drug and bring it into mass production."
It is more encouraging that during the randomized controlled multicenter trial for Firehawk®, the third generation drug-eluting stent, Xience V the worldwide-recognized DES was chosen for head to head comparison. The results of the trial were very promising. Some of the major indictors of the third generation drug-eluting stent system showed equivalent efficacy as compared to Xience V and it even surpassed the Xience V in some areas.
An insider of medical device field said: "Innovation is the life of medical device industry. For a long time, Domestic medical device manufacturers had been at disadvantage place for lack of investment in Research &Development and lack of courage to compete with those MNCs. The breakthrough in DES segment will encourage domestic medical device manufacturers to compete with MNCs in other segment field such as orthopedic and CRM."