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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | HEARD ON THE BEAT / BIOTECH

Edwards Lifesciences to Market Heart Laser

February 08, 2001|MARC BALLON | Marc Ballon covers the biomedical and biotechnology industries for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7439 and at marc.ballon@latimes.com

An estimated 6.3 million Americans suffer from angina--a condition in which the heart fails to receive a sufficient amount of blood, sometimes causing severe pain. And 350,000 new cases occur each year, according to the American Heart Assn.

Now, a heart laser made by PLC Medical Systems Inc. of Franklin, Mass., may reduce pain significantly for angina patients by creating tiny holes on the heart's surface, improving blood flow. Edwards Lifesciences Corp. in Irvine has signed a deal with PLC to distribute and market the carbon-dioxide TMR heart laser, which received market clearance from the Food and Drug Administration.

"This could help the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people," Edwards Chief Executive Mike Mussallem said.

As part of the distribution pact, Edwards made a $4-million equity investment in PLC. The deal reflects Edwards' strategy of snapping up or licensing new technologies through partnerships and acquisitions, JP Morgan H&Q analyst Michael Weinstein said.

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