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Boston Scientific (BSX - Analyst Report) has expanded its drug eluting stent (“DES”) portfolio with the CE Mark approval for the Promus PREMIER Everolimus-Eluting Platinum Chromium Coronary Stent System. Subsequent to the approval, the company is working on the European market launch of this next-generation durable polymer drug-eluting stent. With improved DES features, this stent system is claimed to be the only platform to feature a customized Platinum Chromium (PtCr) stent architecture, Everolimus drug coating and fluorinated co-polymer with a better stent delivery system.

Recent data by the European Heart Network and the European Society of Cardiology shows that the market for Coronary heart disease is growing. Currently, it is the single most common cause of death in Europe with 1.8 million deaths annually. With stent placement as one of the treatment options, the new product is expected to boost the company’s DES business in Europe going forward.   

While we are encouraged with the approval of Promus PREMIER in Europe, Boston Scientific’s Interventional Cardiology segment has been recording declining sales over the past few quarters, primarily owing to disappointing performance of the coronary stent franchise. This is significant as the company in the recently reported fourth quarter derived 18% of its total revenues from coronary stents.

During the fourth quarter, global sales of the coronary stent system (within Interventional Cardiology) were $333 million, down 12.6% due to a disappointing performance from both drug-eluting stents (“DES”) that declined 12.4% to $312 million and bare-metal stents that plunged 16% to $21 million. The company’s DES business in the U.S. has been struggling due to several headwinds – lower pricing, softness in percutaneous interventional volume and share losses following the launch of Medtronic’s (MDT - Analyst Report) Resolute Integrity stent.

Given the several headwinds currently at play, Boston Scientific continues to focus on strategic initiatives to drive growth and profitability. These include strengthening its portfolio, targeting suitable acquisitions in areas of unmet medical needs and focusing on emerging markets. We also note that the company is working on penetrating its Element platform in the emerging markets, including India, Brazil and China and expect this to continue to accelerate growth through the end of the current fiscal. We expect these factors to benefit the company over the long term.

The company now carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other medical device stocks worth a look are Cyberonics Inc. (CYBX - Analyst Report) and ResMed Inc. (RMD - Analyst Report). Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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