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Cyberonics Sells Patent Rights for Pacemaker-like Device, HouStoned Headline Writer Inexplicably Not in Mood to Make "Heart" Pun

Houston-baed Cyberonics has sold patent rights on the Pulse Generator, a controversial device implanted into a patient’s chest. The $9.5 million deal grants Cincinnati-based Ethicon Endo-Surgery exclusive rights to use the pacemaker-like device in certain obese patients for the treatment of hypertension and diabetes, according to a press release Cyberonics issued today.

The device, used for “vagus nerve stimulation” (VNS) therapy, is only FDA-approved for patients with epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression. Cyberonics CFO Greg Browne told the Houston Press that Ethicon Endo-Surgery will only use the device in clinical trials at this point. (Ethicon is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.)

While Dan Moore, Cyberonics’s president and CEO, said the deal “advances our mission to improve the lives of people affected by chronic neurological disorders,” he said the company won’t forget its other “strategic objectives,” namely “achieving positive cash flow and profitability, growing our core epilepsy business, and appropriately developing our treatment-resistant depression business.”

Not mentioned in the press release are the past problems associated with the company’s core epilepsy business, including unexplained deaths, surgeons who don’t know how to fit the darn thing in there, and bum devices that expired long before their shelf date. For more on that, look here. -- Craig Malisow

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