Guidant Corporation has paid $10 million to SyneCor LLC, a medical technology developer in RTP, for a controlling interest in a new technology for heart stents.

Guidant, which is an investor in SyneCor, agreed to pay $10 million for a 51 percent ownership and will pay $6 million for the remaining 49 percent sometime in 2004 once regulatory guidelines and other conditions have been met, the company said in a statement. Guidant (NYSE: GDT) focuses on cardiac and vascular disease treatment.

The technology centers on bioabsorbable vascular stents that are designed to be safely absorbed by the patent’s body once blood flow has been restored, Guidant said. Stents are used to open arteries of people afflicted with coronary artery disease.

Among the better-known receivers of stent treatment is Vice President Richard Cheney.

SyneCor operates under the direction of Dr. Richard Stack and William Starling, who are managing partners. It has offices in RTP, Santa Rosa, CA and Menlo Park, CA.

“We are highly encouraged by our progress thus far with bioabsorbable technology and look forward to working with Guidant to further explore its potential,” Stack said in a statement.

Stack, who is on leave of absence from Duke University where he is a professor of medicine, has invented several devices for angioplasty treatment. He also is executive director of the Atlanta Cardiovascular Research Institute.

Starling has spent 26 years in the medical technology device industry and has raised more than $200 million in private equity for a number of firms. The UNC Chapel Hill graduate is a member of the Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Board of Visitors at UNC and is a member of the Kenan-Flagler Center’s for Entrepreneurship and Technology Venturing’s external advisory committee.

Stack and Starling will be part of the new Guidant venture’s leadership team as will Michael Williams, who is chief technology officer of SyneCor.

Among the scientific technology advisers is Joseph DeSimone, an RTP entrepreneur and a professor of chemistry at both NC State and UNC Chapel Hill.

The new venture will be based in California.

SyneCor acts as a business incubator. One of its firms, BaroSense, which is a medical device company specializing in the minimally invasive treatment of obesity, received $6.2 million in Series A financing led by Frazier Healthcare Ventures and Delphi Ventures last fall.

SyneCor raised $10.5 million from Frazier Healthcare, Delphi Ventures, Becton Dickinson and other investors plus $1.5 million from a group of cardiologists as seed capital in December of 2000.