Medtronic will invest $70 million in Israeli medical device start-up BioControl Medical. The medical devices giant also obtained an option to acquire BioControl for $550 million, subject to the company obtaining approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its proprietary implantable nerve stimulation devices. The strategic agreement was signed a few days ago, reports Globes, Israel’s leading financial daily.

BioControl’s devices are designed to control muscles through nerve stimulation. In 2006, it sold its urology product to American Medical Systems for $50 million and used the proceeds from that deal to develop a new product, CardioFit. A treatment for heart failure, CardioFit received EU CE Mark certification in December 2008.

The CardioFit system is the first device in the world to treat heart failure through nerve stimulation of the heart muscle instead of by directly aiding the heartbeat. CardioFit stimulates the vagus nerve in the neck with an electro-stimulator that is monitored by an intra-cardiac electrogram (EGM) sensor.

While results of preclinical trials are promising, BioControl still has at least three years of clinical trials ahead.

The investment in BioControl is Medtronic’s second major move in the Israeli life sciences market, following the acquisition of Ventor Technologies for $325 million, and the establishment of an innovation center for seeking technologies of interest to the Fortune 500 company that is the world’s largest medical technology company.