Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting to Know...The Big 3 Implant Makers

Cochlear implants are likely to become a lucrative market in the future as baby boomers grow older and the number of people suffering from hearing loss increases. There are three main companies making implants.

· Cochlear Limited – This Australian company got its start the early 1980s. Cochlear dominates the market with 70% of the market share and $700 million in sales each year. Cochlear makes the Nucleus cochlear implant, the Hybrid electro-acoustic implant and the Baha bone conduction implant. It  voluntarily recalled its Nucleaus 5 unit in the fall of 2011 because moisture caused a few of the implants to shut down.

· Advanced Bionics – Started in 1996 and acquired by Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific in 2004, Advanced regained its independence in 2007. A Swiss company, Sonova Holding, bought the Valencia, California-based cochlear-implant maker in 2009. With about one fifth of the market, Advanced is number two in the field, though a recall forced the company to make layoffs this year. Phonak is one of its brands. Advanced Bionics recalled the HiRes 90K implant in 2010 after two patients suffered from severe pain and overly loud sounds.

· Med-El – This Austrian company founded in 1989, the company received approval for distribution in Europe in 1994 and FDA approval in 2001. Its U.S. offices are located in Durham, North Carolina.