Interventional Oncology – here come the big guns

One of the fastest-growing and most dynamic markets covered by the medtech team here at DRG is the field of interventional oncology. Although both ablation devices (used to a heat, cool or even electrocute tumor tissue in order to destroy it) and embolization particles (used to plug up vessels feeding tumors, in order to control their growth) have been around for some time, the market for both has experienced strong growth in recent years as the technology in both categories continues to improve (for more detail, see my recently published report on interventional oncology devices in the US).

As is often the case in medtech markets, strong growth is usually followed by M & A activity. Just recently, Ethicon (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) purchased Neuwave Medical, which manufactures a microwave ablation device. We are predicting a continued strong performance from Neuwave, as their device (which has several key differentiating characteristics compared to the competition) is driven by the increased reach and resources of the larger parent company.

And just last week, BTG (which is already a major player in the embolization particle segment) announced it will be acquiring Galil Medical, which also makes an ablation device (in this case a cryoablation device, which kills tumors through extreme cooling). Interestingly, this expands BTG’s presence within interventional oncology from a focus on liver cancer (where the majority of embolization procedures are performed) to other indications, particularly in kidney, lung and bone tumors.

Should we expect more acquisitions in future? It is certainly probable, as there are several small and mid-size competitors in both ablation and embolization that represent enticing targets for larger companies looking to break into (or expand their offering in) the interventional oncology device market.