Expanding further into image-guided therapy market, Philips will acquire Volcano

Royal Philips (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and Volcano Corp. (NASDAQ:VOLC; San Diego, CA), which develops and manufactures catheter-based imaging and measurement solutions for cardiovascular applications, have entered into a definitive agreement in which Philips will acquire Volcano for $1 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.

In the last few years, Philips has created its image-guided therapy business through strategic investments in R&D, partnerships, and technology licenses. The company's systems provide visual maps that allow clinicians to guide catheters through the body to the area of interest and perform the minimally invasive treatment.

In image-guided treatments of the heart and blood vessels, there is an increasing trend to use advanced catheters that are capable of producing ultrasound images of the interior of blood vessels (intravascular ultrasound [IVUS]) or perform blood flow measurements (fractional flow reserve [FFR]). There is a growing body of clinical evidence that the use of such technologies in conjunction with interventional x-ray helps improve procedural outcomes.

With 2013 sales of approximately $400 million, Volcano develops and manufactures catheter-based IVUS imaging and FFR measurement systems for minimally invasive diagnostics and treatment of coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease.

The acquisition will enable Philips to introduce new solutions in higher growth segments such as minimally invasive treatment of heart rhythm disorders and structural heart diseases. These are promising segments growing at double-digit rates.

Frans van Houten, Philips' CEO, explains that image-guided therapies provide significant benefits for healthcare systems and patients, including reduced patient trauma, shorter recovery times and hospital stays, and lower costs. As a result, the company's clinical partners and customers are asking for a tighter integration of imaging and measurement technologies to enable such therapies.

Upon completion of the transaction, the Volcano business and its 1800 employees will be part of a dedicated, new image-guided therapy business group within Philips, which will be led by Philips' senior VP Bert van Meurs, who has a proven track record in the image-guided therapy market.

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