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Medtronic ActivaProgramming Application Wins FDA Nod for DBS

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Medtronic plc’s (MDT - Free Report) brain therapy business gets a boost with the recent FDA approval for the company’s latest Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Clinician Programmer and ActivaProgramming Application. This U.S. approval has come close on the heels of the European CE mark approval for the same in March 2018.

Notably, DBS therapy is a surgical procedure for placing a medical device to deliver electrical stimulation to the accurate lead location of the brain in order to reduce some of the most disabling motor symptoms.

Per Medtronic, the ActivaProgramming Application, designed for use with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablets, incorporates the inputs of above 100 clinicians globally. Therefore, this treatment is helpful in streamlining workflows and enhancing clinical programming experience. The company also claims this program to be useful in providing support to neurologists and neurosurgeons in treating Parkinson`s and Dystonia patients using the company’s Activa DBS system therapy.

Apart from these two neurological diseases, the Medtronic DBS Clinician Programmer is also approved for use with Medtronic Activa DBS systems, which treat medically refractory epilepsy, a therapy to be launched later this year in the United States.

Approximately 125,000 Medtronic Activa devices have been globally implanted so far. Needless to say, the latest FDA and CE Mark approvals for the ActivaProgramming Application will immediately improve programming interactions, which are critical to post-implant care for thousands of patients. The programmer will also enable the upgrade of Activa rechargeable implantable neurostimulators service life to 15 years, providing patients with additional six years until their next device replacement.

Medtronic and Brain Therapy

In Brain therapies, Medtronic is leading the development of the endovascular therapy market for the treatment of ischemic strokes resulting in high-teens growth in neurovascular in the last reported fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. The company also had a great quarter in neurosurgery with low-double-digit growth highlighting strong demand for StealthStation S8 Navigation systems, the Mazor X robotic guidance systems and Visualase MRI-guided laser ablation system.


Worldwide, Medtronic’s DBS therapy has already gained much popularity. It has won approval in several places internationally including the United States and Europe, to cure disabling symptoms of essential tremor and the Parkinson's disease. In 2017, the company announced the receipt of Health Canada license for SureTune 3 software for DBS. In Europe, Canada and Australia, DBS therapy already owns the license to treat refractory epilepsy.

Per a Transparency Market Research report, the global deep brain stimulation devices market is estimated to reach a value of worth of $3.21 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 8.9%. The company clearly boasts a huge growth potential in this market.

Share Price Performance

Over the past three months, shares of Medtronic have outperformed the industry it belongs to. The stock has grown 4.6% compared with the industry’s 3.6% increase.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Medtronic currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

A few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are Abiomed, Inc. ABMD, Genomic Health, Inc. GHDX and Stryker Corporation SYK.

Abiomed has a long-term growth rate of 27%. The stock sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Genomic Health has an expected growth rate of 187.5% and a Zacks Rank of 1.

Stryker has a projected long-term earnings growth rate of 9.8%. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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