Johnson & Johnson faces another ballot battle on racial equity audit

Johnson & Johnson is fighting another shareholder proposal for an independent racial equality audit of the company.

New Brunswick, New Jersey–based J&J (NYSE:JNJ) defeated a similar measure at last year’s annual meeting of shareholders, though the vote was far from a landslide. The company also unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to keep it off the ballot.

Now, an independent audit is again up for consideration at the April 28 annual meeting after surviving another J&J appeal to the SEC.

Proponents of the audit cite ongoing controversies over talcum powder allegedly marketed to minorities. They also point to the J&J Political Action Committee’s financial support of Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn President Joe Biden’s election after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol.

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Medtronic faces longer road to renal denervation

The Symplicity Spyral renal denervation system delivers energy to the nerves leading to the kidneys, which help regulate blood pressure. [Image courtesy of Medtronic]

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) will continue the Spyral clinical study of its Symplicity renal denervation (RDN) system for hypertension into next year after lacking the positive results needed to end enrollment early.

Fridley, Minnesota-based Medtronic said last month that it hoped to present results of the Spyral HTN-ON MED trial at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation’s TCT Conference in early November, pending an interim analysis in October.

Significantly positive results would have advanced Medtronic’s efforts for FDA approval. But the independent data safety monitoring board conducting that analysis — meant to end trial enrollment if results are significantly better or worse than expected — recommended that Medtronic continue enro…

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SeaSpine warns of COVID-19 hit to surgical revenue

SeaSpine Holdings (NSDQ:SPNE) is the latest medical device maker warning that the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant wave is hurting its business.

Carlsbad, California–based SeaSpine filed an update for investors with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, citing “ongoing uncertainty regarding the duration and severity of COVID-19 and/or staffing shortages on spine surgery procedure volumes throughout the United States.”

“Throughout the third quarter of 2021, and most acutely starting in August, spine surgery procedure volumes were negatively impacted in many areas of the United States, including in Florida and Texas, where SeaSpine derives a meaningful portion of its revenue, due to cancellations and/or postponements of procedures as a result of the increased cases and transmissibility of COVID-19 and because hospitals and other surgical centers were experiencing staffing shortages,” the company said in the SEC disclosure.

SeaSp…

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