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Medtronic, Inc. (MDT): The Future Of High Blood Pressure?

St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) has been under fire recently from sales losses in its cardiology divisions, but renal denervation could be a life-saver for this beleaguered company. The firm earned CE Mark approval for its EnligHTN renal denervation system back in 2012, and it launched a clinical study in February to study the system’s benefits in preventing conditions such as heart attack or stroke. The EnligHTN isn’t approved in the U.S. yet, but St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ)’s European approval puts this company on the fast track to becoming a major player in renal denervation.

Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) hasn’t been as quick to jump on the bandwagon as St. Jude and Medtronic have, but this cardiovascular-focused firm won’t be left behind. Facing struggling sales from its CRM and interventional cardiology businesses, Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) pushed into renal denervation with its purchase of Vessix Vascular late last year. While Vessix’s V2 renal denervation system has a long way to go before being approved in the U.S., it has already earned European and Australian regulatory approval.

Finally, Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) has also entered the renal denervation race, although this company looks to be behind St. Jude and Medtronic as the leaders. Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) purchased small-time renal denervation player Maya Medical last year for up to $170 million including milestone payouts, and it also received European approval for its OneShot renal denervation system last year. However, Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) only launched the OneShot commercially in January, putting it back with Boston Scientific in racing to catch up with St. Jude and Medtronic’s advance.

One thing’s certain in this exciting new market: Renal denervation is not going away. In a time when cardiovascular device makers are struggling for sales growth, hypertension’s rise in advanced economies and developing markets like India provides a lucrative new niche to fight over. Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT)’s in the lead right now, but as the renal denervation market opens up, keep an eye on who can make land in the U.S. first. The American market offers up a huge opportunity — and the first mover could be the company that greatly rewards investors.

The article The Market That Could Save Cardiovascular Device Makers originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Dan Carroll.

Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Covidien. The Motley Fool owns shares of Medtronic.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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