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Boston Scientific Structural Heart Benefits from WATCHMAN Focus

Posted on October 30, 2018 by Medtech[y] Staff

Boston Scientific beat earnings estimates last week and their Structural Heart business unit received a boost due to the increased focus on their WATCHMAN device.

The company also raised Structural Heart's revenue guidance from $450 million to $475 million to reflect continued WATCHMAN and ACURATE strength, plus the impact of the Claret acquisition. 

What led to the success?

The answer came in the earnings report after an astute analyst made the connection of a likely increased focus on WATCHMAN after the delayed launch of their LOTUS EDGE, which has been pushed back to 2019. 

From Seeking Alpha:

Jason Richard Mills - Canaccord Genuity, Inc.

In Structural Heart, clearly when you had to pull back a little bit on LOTUS in the U.S. market for TAVR, it seemed WATCHMAN benefited from the incremental focus from that sales force in the United States. And so, as you prepare for launch in the United States with LOTUS Edge, how might your sales force change? Will you need to add to it? Will there be incremental spending there? Or do you feel like you're ready at this point to market both products full force whenever the FDA approves LOTUS Edge? Thank you very much.

Michael F. Mahoney - Boston Scientific Corp.

Yeah, and on the sales coverage area, we feel very comfortable there. In terms of WATCHMAN which is doing really remarkably well, it's all about increasing utilization. So, the sales reps' requirements to open up new centers really has declined significantly over the past three years because we have so many centers that are open. So, there's still a few new center openings that account for the revenue but the bulk of it really is a combination of what we call therapy awareness reps, helping, working in partnership with the customers or the hospitals to drive awareness, physician training, and increased utilization. And so, it's a pretty significant, I would say, clinical exercise and therapy awareness exercise, and a little bit less on the traditional sales, new account openings. That will now shift over to the TAVR responsibility for a lot of those reps. So, by geography, there's different models. Sometimes we have separate reps, sometimes we combine reps. It depends on what the situation is. But we'll continue to invest in both our WATCHMAN clinical team and also continue to make investments as we do a smart launch of our LOTUS platform in the U.S. with clinical reps and sales reps.


The positive success for WATCHMAN in the quarter came as all metrics were trending well, including utilization, reorder rates, and account openings. 

In the quarter, the company completed enrollment in the U.S. in the NextGen WATCHMAN FLX IDE well ahead of schedule and continue to target an EU launch of FLX in the first half of 2019. 

Japan remains on track for WATCHMAN launch in second half of 2019 and Boston Scientific continues to invest in multiple WATCHMAN market development and training programs.