products are medical devices that are subject to extensive regulation in the U.S. and in foreign countries where we do business.
The U.S. FDA regulates the development, testing, manufacturing, labeling, storage, recordkeeping, promotion, marketing, distribution
and service of medical devices in the U.S. to ensure that medical products distributed domestically are safe and effective for
their intended uses. In addition, the FDA regulates the export of medical devices manufactured in the U.S. to international markets
and the importation of medical devices manufactured abroad.
many foreign countries in which we market our products, we are subject to regulations affecting, among other things, product standards,
packaging requirements, labeling requirements, import restrictions, tariff regulations, duties and tax requirements. Many of these
regulations are similar to those of the FDA or other U.S. regulations. In addition, our products must meet the requirements of
a large and growing body of international standards which govern the design, manufacture, materials content and sourcing, testing,
certification, packaging, installation, use and disposal of our products. Failure to meet these standards could limit the ability
to market our products in those regions which require compliance to such standards. Examples of groups of such standards are electrical
safety standards such as those of the International Electrotechnical Commission and composition standards such as the Reduction
of Hazardous Substances (“RoHS”) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (“WEEE”) Directives.
Food and Drug Administration
an exemption applies, each medical device we wish to commercially market in the United States will require 510(k) clearance, de
novo approval, or pre-market approval from the FDA. The FDA classifies medical devices into one of three classes. Devices deemed
to pose lower risks are placed in either Class I or II, which requires the manufacturer to submit to the FDA a pre-market notification
requesting permission to commercially distribute the device, known as 510(k) clearance. Some low risk devices are exempted from
this requirement. Devices deemed by the FDA to pose the greatest risks, such as life-sustaining, or life-supporting, or devices
deemed not substantially equivalent to a previously cleared 510(k) device, are placed in Class III, requiring pre-market approval,
or PMA. The majority of our current products are Class II devices requiring 510(k) clearances. Biosense Webster’s compatible
catheters used with our Niobe system are Class III therapeutic devices and are subject to the PMA process.
U.S. clinical data are needed to support clearance, approval or a marketing application for our devices, generally, an investigational
device exemption, or IDE, is assembled and submitted to the FDA. The FDA reviews and must approve the IDE before the study can
begin. In addition, the study must be approved by an Institutional Review Board covering each clinical site involved in the study.
When all approvals are obtained, we initiate a clinical study to evaluate the device. Following completion of the study, we collect,
analyze and present the data in an appropriate submission to the FDA (i.e. in support of a 510(k), de novo, or PMA).
a 510(k) clearance is required, we must submit a pre-market notification demonstrating that our proposed device is substantially
equivalent to a previously cleared and legally marketed 510(k) device, de novo approved device, or a device that was in commercial
distribution before May 28, 1976, for which the FDA has not yet called for the submission of pre-market approval applications.
To establish substantial equivalence, the applicant must show that the new device has the same intended use as the predicate device,
and it either has the same technological characteristics or has been shown to be equally safe and effective and does not raise
different questions of safety and effectiveness as compared to the predicate device. The FDA may require further information,
including clinical trial results or product test data, to make a determination regarding substantial equivalence. The FDA’s
510(k) clearance process usually takes from four to 12 months, but can take longer.
a device is not eligible for the 510(k) clearance process, but the product is low or moderate risk, we may be able to obtain de
novo review. The de novo process allows FDA to classify a low- to moderate-risk device not previously classified into Class I
or II. If the device is not eligible for either the 510(k) or de novo processes, a PMA must be submitted to the FDA. A PMA must
be supported by extensive data, including but not limited to, technical, preclinical, clinical trials, manufacturing and labeling
to demonstrate reasonable evidence of the device’s safety and efficacy to the FDA’s satisfaction. The PMA process
is much more costly, lengthy and uncertain than the 510(k) clearance process, and it generally takes from one to three years,
but can take longer. We cannot be sure that the FDA will ever grant 510(k) clearance, de novo approval or pre-market approval
for any product we propose to market in the United States.
a device receives 510(k) clearance or de novo approval, any modification that could significantly affect its safety or effectiveness,
or that would constitute a significant change in its intended use, will require a new clearance. Modification to a PMA approved
device or its labeling may require either a new PMA or PMA supplement approval, which could be a costly and lengthy process.
a device is placed on the market, numerous regulatory requirements apply. These include for example:
Quality System Regulation, or QSR, which requires manufacturers, including third-party manufacturers, to follow stringent
design, testing, documentation and other quality assurance procedures during product design and throughout the manufacturing
requirements and the FDA prohibitions against promoting products for uncleared, unapproved or “off-label” uses;|
device reporting regulations, which require that manufacturers report to the FDA if their device may have caused or contributed
to a death or serious injury or malfunctioned in a way that would likely cause or contribute to a death or serious injury
if the malfunction were to recur; and|
of Corrections and Removals regulation, which requires manufacturers to report recalls and field actions to the FDA if initiated
to reduce a risk to health posed by the device or to remedy a violation of the FD&C Act.|