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Schroder eyes MedNova exit

US-based healthcare company, Abbott Laboratories has taken an equity stake in Irish medical device company, MedNova, one of Schroder Venture’s start-ups. Abbott now has the option to acquire the company, depending on the approval of US regulatory standards. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

A distribution agreement has also been signed for MedNova’s embolic filter and carotid stent products, which will help to significantly expand Abbott’s presence in the interventional cardiology and radiology markets.

MedNova has gained regulatory approval in Europe and is half way through regulatory trials in

the US. Abbott’s acquisition of the company would be reliant on getting products approved for the US market.

Tareta Lewis from Abbott said: “As Mednova meets all the clinical and technological approval milestones, Abbott will be obligated to acquire them at a later date at a fixed price. We are not sure when this will happen, but we do not expect it to happen before 2003.”

Kate Bingham, general partner at Schroder Ventures Life Sciences states that it has been a very exciting time seeing one of Schroder’s European portfolio companies conquer the US market, especially in a sector that is regarded as more mature in the US than it is in Europe.

MedNova was founded in 1996, when Schroder Ventures and the Irish Government committed $3 million to the project. In 1998, Schroder Ventures and the Irish Government invested a further GBP4.75 million, alongside Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (formerly Mercury Asset Management), which acquired a 13.4 per cent stake in the company, and Wellcome Trust, in a total transaction valued at GBP10.4 million.

Bingham adds: “When we started MedNova in 1996, we backed a very experienced entrepreneurial management team which has created a company that is at the forefront of product development in three exciting high growth, less evasive therapy markets with combined potential of over $1 billion annually.”

Chas Taylor, president of MedNova, is delighted to have formed a partnership with Abbott Laboratories that he says is assembling a “world-class business in the multibillion dollar acute care vascular market.”

Abbott Laboratories is a global, diversified health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceutical, diagnostic, nutritional and hospital products.