Boston Scientific acquires University of Iowa startup Farapulse for $295M

Boston Scientific has exercised its option to acquire the remaining shares of University of Iowa startup Farapulse, which has developed a method for precisely and safely treating abnormal heart rhythms.

Last September, Boston Scientific signed an investment agreement with an option to acquire Farapulse.

Boston Scientific has been an investor in Farapulse since 2014 and currently holds an equity stake of approximately 27%. The $295 million buyout for the 73% stake not yet owned will give Boston Scientific 100% ownership. After the initial transaction is complete, the deal also includes an additional $92 million in payments if certain clinical and regulatory milestones are hit as well as revenue-based payments for the next three years.

Farapulse’s technology silences heart signals that cause irregular heartbeats in atrial fibrillation, without damaging nearby tissue. Unlike current cardiac ablation devices, which scar heart muscle using either radiofrequency energy or extreme temperatures, Farapulse’s tech uses electrical fields. The company maintains that this allows greater precision than existing techniques. 

Farapulse was founded in 2012 by University of Iowa Assistant Professor Steven Mickelsen. Mickelson served as the company’s acting president and CEO until Allan Zingeler joined the company as CEO in 2014. Mickelson stepped down to become the Chief Science Officer of the company for a short period and left the organization after the company relocated from Iowa City to its current location in Menlo Park, California.

“I am humbled by the extraordinary success of Farapulse and recognize the efforts and time so many people dedicated in bringing my original vision to fruition,” Mickelsen said in a statement.

Farapulse’s system received a CE mark earlier this year, making it commercially available in Europe. Around the same time, Farapulse kicked off its FDA-cleared clinical trial of the system, which will compare the effects of its atrial fibrillation treatment to traditional methods.

Boston Scientific has been on an acquisition streak lately, having already acquired two companies prior to Farapulse this year—wearable heart monitor maker Preventice for $1.2 billion in January and Lumenis’ surgical laser business for $1 billion in March.

 The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.