St. Jude Buys Nanostim as Pacemaker Gets EU Approval

St. Jude Medical Inc. purchased Nanostim Inc. for $123.5 million and said the company’s core technology, a tiny wireless pacemaker implanted entirely inside the heart, won European Union approval.

St. Jude, a maker of heart-rhythm devices, invested in Nanostim in May 2011, gaining exclusive acquisition rights. The device maker said in February that it would buy closely held, Milpitas, California-based Nanostim by year’s end. St. Jude may pay an extra $65 million if the technology hits additional regulatory and sales goals, the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company said today in a statement.

The miniaturized pacemaker, the size and shape of a triple A battery, will be available soon in select European markets, St. Jude said. The device doesn’t need wires called leads to connect to the heart, a component that has been tied to failures with rival products used to regulate the heart’s rhythm. It is implanted with a catheter that runs through the femoral artery and can be removed, if needed, without surgery.

“For the past 40 years, the therapeutic promise of leadless pacing has been discussed, but until now, no one has been able to overcome the technical challenges,” Johannes Sperzel, a cardiologist from Kerckhoff Klinik in Bad Nauheim, Germany, said in the statement. “This revolutionary technology offers my patients a safe, minimally invasive option for pacemaker delivery that eliminates leads.”

The battery of the pacemaker is expected to last nine to 13 years. Nanostim received Food and Drug Administration approval to begin tests for the product in the U.S., which has stricter regulatory requirements than the EU for marketing novel medical devices. About 700,000 people worldwide each year get pacemakers, which stimulate the heart when it beats too slowly.

Bank of America Corp. acted as a financial adviser to St. Jude, with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP serving as legal adviser. Nanostim received legal counsel from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.