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Covidien plc (COV - Analyst Report) registered an increase of 2.4% in its stock prices, post announcement of the positive study results on Oct 14, 2013. Impressive results were released from its DURABILITY II study and from its DEFINITIVE AR trial. Both results were released at the Vascular Interventional Advances (VIVA) 2013 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The studies were undertaken to understand the safety and effectiveness of technologies used in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Across the globe, around 200 million people are estimated to be affected with this common vascular disease, also known as (PAD) peripheral arterial disease.

DURABILITY II was the first study to focus on long lesions and to specifically test the performance of a single 200 mm stent in the Superficial Femoral Artery (SFA). The test spanned a time period of three years and covered around 287 patients.

The results of the study support the utility of the single, long EverFlex self-expanding stent. The use of this stent showed lesser need for repeat procedures (revascularization of treated lesions) as well as a low rate of stent breakage (fracture rate).

Stent fracture is a common cause of artery reblockage, necessitating repeat procedures.  

On the other hand, the DEFINITIVE AR acute 30-day data evaluated the combination of directional atherectomy and anti-restenotic therapy (DAART) in treating lower limb blockages in PAD patients. The results demonstrated a greater procedural success compared to PAD treatment using a drug-coated balloon alone. Additionally, fewer vessel tears (dissections) and superior lumen gain were observed in the application of the DAART treatment.

Covidien’s release of such valuable clinically-relevant data for the convenience of physicians justifies its position as a leading global provider of healthcare products. The data obtained from the two studies will enable physicians to take efficient treatment decisions for PAD patients, thus improving standards of care.

Covidien also strengthened its vessel sealing portfolio with the launch of two advanced energy devices, the LigaSure Impact curved large jaw open sealer/divider LF4318 and LigaSure blunt tip laparoscopic sealer/divider LF1637. LigaSure products are used in operating rooms and are known for improving surgical procedures.

The severe austerity measures adopted in Europe is expected to hurt the revenues of the company in the coming quarters as a large part of its revenues are derived from the European markets. Moreover, the drastic cuts in the reimbursement rates, coupled with a high med tech excise tax will exert greater pressure on the margins of the company and subsequently on its growth. Covidien currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Other stocks that are worth a look  include Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (BIO - Snapshot Report), and INSYS Therapeutics, Inc. (INSY - Snapshot Report) each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX - Analyst Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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