Varian Medical Systems, which is based in Palo Alto, California, US, recently strengthened its interventional oncology business segment by acquiring two product lines from Boston Scientific and China-based Alicon in July 2019. Both transactions will result in the addition of embolisation particles to Varian’s product offerings. 

Embolisation particles can be used as an alternative to open surgery. The use of embolisation particles is minimally invasive and blocks blood flow to a particular area of the body. This can result in the shrinkage and ablation of an aneurysm or tumour. Four main types of embolisation particles are currently used in the market, including polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) particles, microspheres, drug-eluting beads, and radioembolisation particles. 

Embolisation particles are used to treat a variety of conditions including liver cancer, renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer, neuroendocrine tumours, arteriovenous malformations, uterine fibroids, and benign prostatic hyperplasia. The increasing prevalence of cancer, hemorrhages, and malignant hypertension are key drivers of this growing market. 

Boston Scientific agreed to sell its Oncozene and Embozene microspheres for $90m. Oncozene microspheres are used for the embolisation of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), hypervascular tumours (HVT) and hepatoma. Embozene microspheres are used for the embolisation of prostatic arteries (PAE) for symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). These assets generated over $20m for Boston Scientific in 2018. Varian does not expect this transaction to have financial implications for FY 2019. 

Alicon’s portfolio includes resorbable gel foam particles and PVA embolic beads. Alicon’s leading product is Caligel, which used in China to treat liver cancer. By acquiring Alicon, Varian will be able to use R&D programmes and networks that Alicon established in China. Varian spent $185m to purchase Alicon and the Texas-based company, Endocare. Together, these two companies had $30m in revenue, with 40% of this revenue coming from China. Similar to the purchase of the Oncozene and Embozene products, Varian does not expect the acquisition of Alicon to have financial implications in FY 2019. 

The global embolisation particles market is currently dominated by Boston Scientific and Merit Medical Systems. In 2019, Boston Scientific acquired BTG International, which manufactures microspheres, radioembolisation particles and drug-eluting beads. Therefore, despite the sale of its Oncozene and Embozene products, Boston Scientific is expected to continue to be a leader in the embolisation particle market.

In 2018, GlobalData estimated the global embolisation particles market to be worth over $1.03bn, with over $380m in revenue coming from the US. GlobalData predicts a compound annual growth rate of just over 5% for the US embolisation particles market over the next decade. If Varian continues to grow its embolisation business segment, it will be on its way to becoming a major player in this market.