MicroPort Scientific Corporation (00853.HK, “MicroPort®”) signed a strategic investment agreement with Suzhou Argus Medical Technology Co., (“Argus”) and the related parties. Under the agreement, MicroPort® will directly invest in Argus and acquire part of the equity from the existing shareholders, with total cost of RMB 372.3 million. After completion of the transaction, MicroPort® will become the controlling shareholder of Argus, with 51% equity interest in Argus.
Founded in Suzhou Industrial Park in 2016, Argus focuses on solutions for intravascular OCT systems, and has successfully developed ArgusClarity™ OCT system and Argus NOPURGETM purge-free disposable imaging catheter independently. ArgusClarity™ OCT system has received CE Marking certification, and Argus NOPURGETM serves as the first fully sealed purge-free catheter marketed in China, which has passed the NMPA’s special review procedures of innovative medical devices (the ‘Green Channel’) and was granted the NMPA registration certificate in 2021. Argus NOPURGETM reduces the risk of contaminants in the catheter entering the bloodstream due to the contrast agent rinsing process and minimizes the burden on the patient’s renal function by decreasing the amount of contrast agent used. Furthermore, it also reduces the operation steps and time.
Compared to non-Intravascular imaging tools such as digital subtraction angiography (DSA), Intravascular imaging techniques, including intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and OCT are recognized as important tools for optimizing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). OCT has been proven to be an advanced imaging technique that boosts highest intravascular imaging resolution clinically available, providing interventional cardiologist with finer microstructural features of the intima and support in precise diagnosis. In recent years, intravascular OCT has been widely accepted and recommended as a clinical guideline in the United States, the European Union, and Japan, where the clinical utilization rate of this technology is about 20% 1, 2, 3. Although the current utilization rate of OCT in China is only about 1% 4. With the standardization of PCI procedures in the future, the increased awareness in clinical practices and academic research on PCI, the use of intravascular imaging technology in China is expected to rise significantly.
Dr. Lintao Zhang, CEO of Argus, said, “Our team was established with solid foundation in optical communication, and extend our step into the medical device industry. We are very pleased to have landed this partnership with MicroPort®, one of the leading players in the medical device industry. With the support of MicroPort®, we will maximize our team’s strengths in optoelectronics engineering and large-scale industrialization to help reduce the cost of diagnosis and treatment and provide better therapeutic services to patients.”
Lei Jiang, Senior Vice President of Coronary Marketing Business in China and Chairman of the Board of MicroImaging (Shenzhen) Medical Equipment Co., Ltd. (“MicroImaging”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of MicroPort®, said, “PCI precision treatments such as intravascular imaging have become a trend. In addition to the early efforts in cardiovascular robotics and artificial intelligence, MicroPort® has formed a strategic partnership with Siemens to jointly develop a China-made DSA system last year. The strategic investment in Argus will further strengthen MicroPort®’s product footprint in the vascular interventional imaging industry, providing more integrated and precision diagnosis and total solutions in pan-vascular field, which will play an indispensable synergistic role in clinical implantation evaluation and follow-up observation during the large-scale promotion and application of MicroPort®’s Firesorb® Bioresorbable Rapamycin Targeted Eluting Coronary Scaffold System in the future. According to the agreement, MicroPort® will be fully responsible for marketing application of Argus products. We will leverage our existing channels, services and clinical resources, alongside the OCT products of Argus and its expertise in imaging technology, to provide patients with coronary artery diseases with integrative solutions that can extend and reshape their lives.”