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Shares of Becton, Dickinson and Company (BDX - Analyst Report) rose following the company’s announcement of developing and launching the Odon Device, an obstetrical instrument helpful in mitigating the complications from obstructed labor during childbirth. The company will collaborate with World Health Organization (WHO) and Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development for the device.

Saving Lives at Birth has been initiated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID). Since its launch in Mar 9, 2011, the program has been seeking to find innovative solutions for preventing maternal and neonatal deaths, and stillbirth in developing countries especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia as well as for treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns at the time of delivery.

It has been estimated that roughly 10 million women face pregnancy-related complications, and 260,000 maternal deaths occurred in 2012 due to these complications. About 90% of these mortalities occur in developing countries. It is seen that about 3 million newborn babies die each year while 2.6 million are stillborn due to obstructed labor problems.

The Odon Device, named after its Argentinean inventor Jorge Odon, provides gentle delivery of newborns through the birth canal during complicated second-stage labor. Other devices that serve the same purpose include forceps, vacuum and C-sections. Forceps and vacuum are prone to cause damage to mothers and newborns while C-sections are less accessible in developing countries.

The Odon Device has been endorsed by WHO in the Saving Lives at Birth competition. WHO will also lead implementation of clinical studies for the device. The first phase of a clinical study was completed in Argentina in 2012.

Becton, Dickinson and Company will develop the device at its technology center in Singapore. The company intends to bring the device with high-scale and low-cost production at affordable prices in developing countries.

Currently, BDX carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other medical stocks that are worth considering include Cardinal Health, Inc. (CAH - Analyst Report) and STRAUMANN HLD N AKT (SAUHF), both with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Alphatec Holdings, Inc. (ATEC - Snapshot Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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