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Medical devices major, St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ - Analyst Report) has won CE Mark approval for its ILUMIEN OPTIS Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Optimization System. This intravascular imaging technology is an advanced version of the company’s Ilumien System from the cardiovascular products portfolio, which is used to treat coronary artery disease.

The ILUMIEN OPTIS System, featuring the unique Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) platforms, provides cardiologists with comprehensive information to take patient-specific stenting decisions, resulting in better treatment outcomes. Additionally, the device features a three-dimensional vessel reconstruction technology coupled with a unique stent planning software tool, which further enhances diagnostics and treatment strategies.

In Mar 2013, the company had launched the ILUMIEN OPTIS in Japan. However, the loss of a Japanese distributor is adversely affecting St. Jude’s Cardiovascular business of late. Apart from lower expectations from third-party products distributed in Japan, management lowered guidance for 2013 on account of the disappointing 1Q13 results and currency adjustments. The company now expects the Cardiovascular segment to grow 3%–5% (earlier 6%–9%) on a constant currency basis in 2013 on the back of a change in sales mix from declining legacy products to high growth offerings.

St. Jude is aggressively working toward improving its declining top-line performance on the back of new offerings. We believe that the CE Mark of the new ILUMIEN OPTIS device should add to total sales in the European Union, given its cutting-edge features. Recently, the company also received CE Mark approval for its Ellipse ICDs with SJM Assura CRT-Ds, Allure Quadra CRT-P as well as for its Brio Libra and LibraXP deep brain stimulation (“DBS”) product line.

St. Jude currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While we remain on the sidelines regarding STJ, as its core CRM division is still underperforming, other medical stocks such as Conceptus , Myriad Genetics (MYGN - Analyst Report) and AtriCure (ATRC - Snapshot Report) warrant a look. While Conceptus and Myriad carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), ATRC carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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