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St. Jude Medical could see $1 billion from device that looks into arteries

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A Twin Cities company thinks giving doctors a clear view of their patients' coronary arteries could yield as much as $1 billion in sales of a newly-approved medical device.

One doctor who has used St. Jude Medical's Ilummien Optis technology tells MPR it produces imaging that is "truly mind-blowing" and superior to anything available through current methods. Dr. Sandeep Nathan of the University of Chicago Medical Center says he could see clumps of cells beginning to form blood clots in a coronary artery.

MPR reports the technology was developed by a Massachusetts company that St. Jude Medical bought in 2010 for $90 million. Now that it's been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, St. Jude thinks $1 billion worth of sales are possible, MPR says. But analysts tell the network that St. Jude will first need to produce studies demonstrating both a medical benefit and a cost benefit of the new product.

St. Jude appears to be working on that. In reporting on the FDA approval, Med City News noted that St. Jude referenced a study showing hospital readmissions were 86 percent lower when its new technology was used.

The website medGadget.com reports Ilummien Optis was approved by European regulators in May. It says the device combines two types of technology. One measures blood flow and blockage in arteries; the other uses a laser to create a 3D image of the blood vessel.

Clinical trials of Ilummien Optis are still underway, but St. Jude Medical said in its announcement of FDA approval that there are 1,200 studies supporting the two technologies on which it's based.

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