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Thoratec Corp. (THOR - Analyst Report), a leader in mechanical circulatory assistance devices, recently revealed that it has accomplished the first human usage of HeartMate PHP (percutaneous heart pump). This percutaneous heart pump provided sustenance of over an hour to the first patient to use PHP in a risk-prone percutaneous coronary intervention.

The HeartMate PHP setup is a heart pump, which utilizes catheters to ensure hemodynamic left ventricle assistance. The PHP set up extends Thoratec’s mechanical circulatory support systems, including HeartMate II and Centrimag. 

Thoratec plans to continue its clinical studies on the usage of HeartMate PHP to help patients undergoing cardiogenic shock as well as risky percutaneous intervention. It is planning to continue its pilot program in the second quarter of 2013. THOR plans to start a CE Mark study in the back half of 2013.

Thoratec enjoys a first-mover advantage in the market it serves. With HeartMate II, Thoratec enjoys a monopoly in the U.S. market since it has developed the only device of its kind for the destination therapy indication (for heart failure patients who are not eligible for heart transplant). Favorable adoption trend of the device is expected to support revenue growth moving forward. However, its dominance in the bridge-to-transplant (BTT) indication has ended following the FDA approval of  HeartWare International’s (HTWR - Snapshot Report) Ventricular Assist System in Nov 2012.

Despite limited visibility, we are optimistic about Thoratec successfully expanding its sales on the back of its HeartMate II product line. The company continues to do well in the overseas markets despite the economic turmoil in Europe. It received regulatory approval in Japan in the fourth quarter of 2012 to sell the HeartMate II as a BTT for victims of advanced heart failure.

Thoratec currently retains a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). We are more positive about ABIOMED, Inc. (ABMD - Analyst Report) and Cyberonics Inc. (CYBX - Analyst Report) both of which carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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