Today, Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) bought a lab coat.

No, the company isn't getting into the lab supply business to compete against Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO); this lab coat -- or rather, Ireland-based Labcoat -- is a current partner of Boston Scientific.

That's "coat" as in the coating on a drug-eluting stent. Privately-held Labcoat has a technology to lay a thin biodegradable coating on Boston Scientific's Liberte stent, designed to improve healing of the blood vessel wall. Labcoat's Jactax stent has already been through enough clinical trials to apply for marketing approval in Europe, which should happen in the first half of the year. It'll likely need more data to get past the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

I guess Boston Scientific figured that it would be better off grabbing Labcoat now, rather than collecting royalties on sales of Jactax that I imagine it would be owed. The terms of the deal weren't given, so the purchase was presumably a small sum of money for Boston Scientific.

These next-generation stents with biodegradable drug-eluting polymers will likely eventually overtake the current technology from Boston Scientific, Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT), Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), because the removal of the polymer can provide faster and more complete vessel healing compared to the current offerings. Labcoat isn't the only one with the technology, though; Abbott and privately held Elixir Medical are both running clinical trials on stents with biodegradable polymers.

It's going to be a while before we know which biodegradable stent will eventually come out on top -- Abbott's phase 3 trial isn't expected to finish until 2011, for example -- but at least now Boston Scientific will be able to collect all the revenue from Jactax, unlike its current revenue split with Abbott over its Promus stent.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Johnson & Johnson is a selection of the Income Investor newsletter. The Fool has a disclosure policy.