Unsealed Abiomed whistleblower suit reveals claims of retaliation

Newly unsealed court documents related to an alleged kickback scheme that Abiomed (NSDQ:ABMD) agreed to settle last week for $3 million revealed claims of retaliation against the whistleblower in the case.

The plaintiff-relator in the case, Max Bennett, accused the Danvers, Mass.-based company of firing him in retaliation for speaking out on the allegations that the company wined and dined physicians to encourage them to use its Impella heart pump, according to court documents.

“Shortly after Relator raised questions about Abiomed’s non-compliance with federal law, Abiomed’s management questioned Relator regarding his prior employment with Biotronik Inc. (a pacemaker company) and the reasons why he had left. During the course of these discussions, it became obvious to Relator that Abiomed’s superiors believed that he had been a whistleblower at his previous company, and therefore assumed that he would blow the whistle against Abiomed. Abiomed then retaliated against Relator by firing him on November 14, 2012, in violation of both federal and Massachusetts law,” unsealed court documents read.

Last week, federal prosecutors said that Abiomed agreed to pay $3 million to settle the case.

The U.S. Justice Dept. said that Danvers-based Abiomed agreed to settle the allegations for $3.1 million after a whistleblower’s lawsuit accused the company of buying meals for doctors “at some of the country’s most expensive restaurants, including Menton in Boston, Nobu in Los Angeles, Spago in Beverly Hills, and Eleven Madison Park in New York City.”

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Medical device companies: These 15 performed the best in 2017

[Image from Unsplash]

Updated Jan. 5, 2018

Among the most successful medical device companies of 2017, there were two themes: innovation and breadth of services.

That was the major takeaway of an MDO analysis of the stock performance of the 100 largest publicly traded medtech companies in the world.

What does innovation mean? Think Align Technologies (Nasdaq:ALGN) and how it brought 3D printing to bear on a dental product screaming for better customization: braces. Or there’s Abiomed (Nasdaq:ABMD) and its tiny Impella heart pump, which is meant to help restore blood flow and allow the heart to rest after a heart attack.

For breadth of services, look no farther than Integer (NYSE: ITGR). Created out of the 2015 merger of Greatbatch and Lake Region Medical, Integer is a giant medical device contract manufacturer that could theoretically do almost anything for an OEM.

Most – about four-fifths – of the world’s 100 largest medical device companies saw their stock price increase this year. But Align, Abiomed, Integer and other top companies enjoyed an especially exceptional performance.

Here are the 15 best-performing medical device stocks of 2017, ranked by their stock growth percentage.


And click here to download a performance spreadsheet of the 100 stocks>>

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Maquet opens a new front in patent war with Abiomed


Abiomed, MaquetGetinge (PINK:GETI B) subsidiary Maquet opened a new front last week in its patent war with Abiomed (NSDQ:ABMD), alleging infringement of a patent granted earlier this year.

Danvers, Mass.-based Abiomed sued Maquet in May 2016, asking Judge Dennis Saylor of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts for a judgment of non-infringement of a trio of patents; counter-suits later brought the number of disputed patents to six.

Last week Maquet added the latest piece of intellectual property to the case, alleging that Abiomed infringes U.S. patent no. 9,597,437, covering a  “Guidable Intravascular Blood Pump and Related Methods.” Maquet alleged that Abiomed’s Impella 2.5, the Impella 5.0, and the Impella CP infringe at least two claims of the patent, which was granted March 21, according to court documents.

Abiomed asked the patent office for a quartet of inter partes reviews of the ‘437 patent, according to the documents, but the Patent Trial & Appeals Board denied two of the petitions Oct. 18.

Maquet is seeking judgments of basic, induced, contributory and willful infringement, plus preliminary and permanent injunctions barring further alleged infringement, basic and triple willfulness damages and royalties. The company also wants Saylor to force Abiomed to cover its legal costs and to grant pre- and post-judgment interest, according to a Nov. 20 court filing.