Johnson & Johnson has said that its Cypher drug-eluting stent has shown superior efficacy to arch-rival Taxus from Boston Scientific in a clinical trial.

The results come right after J&J published fourth-quarter results claiming that Cypher (sirolimus) had edged out Taxus (paclitaxel) for the dominant position in the DES market, winning a 51% share.

Both products are used to hold open blocked blood vessels in patients with coronary artery disease, and are impregnated with drugs to prevent tissue growing into the vessel lumen and causing another blockage.

In a press release Thursday, J&J said the study showed that Cypher performed better than Taxus on three endpoints, including late lumen loss (the primary endpoint in the study), restenosis and target lesion revascularisation.

The results of the study, called ISAR-SMART, were published yesterday in the February issue of the European Heart Journal.

Both products will shortly face competition in Europe from Guidant’s Xience V (everolimus) DES, which has just been approved for marketing.