Cardio device company St. Jude to sell defibrillators
Medical device company St. Jude Medical will attempt to revive sales of a controversial implantable heart defibrillator, according to The New York Times
St. Paul, Minn.-based St. Jude and Bedford, Mass.-based Cambridge Heart Inc. announced a three-year sales and marketing agreement under which St. Jude Medical will sell Cambridge Heart's HearTwave II and Microvolt T-Wave Alternans systems to cardiologists in North America.
St. Jude purchased $12.5 million of preferred stock in Cambridge Heart. As part of the deal, Cambridge Heart will manage system installation, customer training and equipment service.
The heart defibrillators are implanted electronic instruments that can restore normal cardiac rhythms if the heart starts beating erratically.
"The ability to provide physicians with a non-invasive, cost-effective test to help identify patients that will benefit from ICD therapy is appealing,” St. Jude President Michael Rousseau said in a statement.
St. Jude Medical develops and sells cardiac, neurological and chronic pain medical devices and boasted $3.3 billion in revenues in 2006.
WinmoEdge spoke with company spokesperson Kathleen Janasz to learn more about St. Jude’s
St. Jude markets its products through a nationwide sales team of 2,000 representatives that sell the product to cardiologists, Janasz said.
The company advertises its products extensively in medical journals and makes presentations at medical meetings and conferences throughout the year. Most sales and educational materials are produced in house.
Insurance companies have hampered sales of the $50,000 heart defibrillators, contending that three-quarters of patients receiving the implant never need it to shock their heart. Also widespread publicity about a small number of deaths associated with the device also hurt marketing efforts.
St. Jude will pick up the marketing ball that medical marketing company Medtronic dropped. In 2003, the Minneapolis-based company backed a series of trials and launched an unsuccessful advertising campaign that was meant to put to rest safety concerns about the device, according to the Times.
According to The List Database, neither company has an advertising agency of record. Cambridge Heart contracts New York-based Burns McClellan for public relations support.
According to Nielsen Media Plus, St. Jude spent a total of $30,000 on outdoor and spot radio in 2005.
We see an opportunity for firms with medical device experience helping St. Jude position the product with cardiologists. Project work is likely available to develop ads for medical journal magazines. Shops should also approach with creative ways to communicate the device’s advantages in exhibit halls and presentations. Public relations firms should approach with crisis communications strategies that will combat bad publicity. Firms with strategic B-to-B capabilities can help with insurance company relations to gain acceptance for the product.
Cambridge Heart, Inc.
1 Oak Park Drive
Bedford, MA 01730
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
St. Jude Medical, Inc.
One Lillehei Plaza
St. Paul, MN 55117
Senior Director of Communications & Public Relations
President, U.S. Division