Minimally invasive varicose vein treatments--and sales of treatment devices--set to soar

APRIL 6, 2009--The endovenous ablation market, producer of laser and radio frequency (RF) devices for treatment of varicose veins, will undergo significant growth through 2013 says Millennium Research Group (MRG, Waltham, MA). The market will rise to more than $200 million says MRG in its new report, US Markets for Varicose Vein Treatment Devices 2009. While patent infringement squabbles caused significant turmoil in the market during the past two years, the dust has mainly settled now and a large-scale acquisition has set the stage for a new era of growth.

AngioDynamics' acquisition of assets belonging to Diomed in mid-2008 marked an end to the litigation that had tripped up large competitors in the laser ablation portion of the market. In spite of winning the patent infringement lawsuit against AngioDynamics and Vascular Solutions a year earlier, Diomed filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2008 and sold off its assets to AngioDynamics later that year.

"With the two largest competitors in the laser market now paying royalties to VNUS, the price of disposable laser fibers will undoubtedly increase, which is not what consumers want to see during an economic crisis," says Stephanie LaBelle, Senior Analyst at MRG, referring to VNUS Medical Technologies (pronounced "venus"), which produces a line of RF-based tools.

Under the terms of a settlement agreement disclosed last June, AngioDynamics agreed to pay VNUS Medical approximately $6.8 million and a royalty, payable quarterly, on U.S. sales of its NeverTouch VenaCure products from June 1, 2008 until the expiration date of the applicable patents. In exchange, VNUS Medical granted AngioDynamics a non-exclusive and "non-sublicenseable" license to the applicable patents for use in endovenous laser therapy.

"Although some competitors in the market are still selling their devices at a discount, there are still active lawsuits between VNUS and these companies. If additional competitors have to start paying royalties as well, it will limit their ability to compete against AngioDynamics and Vascular Solutions on price."

Because of these price increases, many physicians will take on more patients for varicose vein treatments in order to maximize device return-on-investment, MRG reports. These conditions, combined with the growing patient awareness of minimally invasive treatment alternatives to varicose vein surgery, will fuel significant growth in the endovenous ablation market over the next several years.

For more information please see details on the website for Millennium Research Group.

Reported by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for BioOptics World.

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