10 of the Biggest MedTech Movers of 2014 … So Far

Posted in Medical Device Business by Qmed Staff on January 22, 2014

Although the 2014 New Year’s baby is barely out of its diapers, enough earnings reports are out that it is a good time to sort out who the big movers and shakers are so far.

A month ago, we profiled five of the best performing companies and five of the worst performing companies of 2013. Now we’re back to look at how some of the major medical device companies are faring in the first weeks of 2014.

In looking at these results, it may be helpful to bear in mind that the S&P 500 has risen only a fraction of a percentage point so far in January.  

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NuVasive makes a range of spinal products such as the XL TDR device for the treatment of degenerative disc disease.
NuVasive Inc.’s stock price is up 20% since the first of the year. NuVasive is focused on developing minimally disruptive surgical products and procedures for the spine. Trading closed at $38.25 on January 22 – not bad for a stock that could have been bought for under $17 a share less than a year ago. On January 15, the company announced preliminary 2013 full-year revenue of approximately $683 million, which is over 10% growth versus full year 2012. Preliminary fourth quarter 2013 revenue was approximately $189 million; this is about 14% growth over the fourth quarter of 2012. The company also said it expects 2014 revenue to be approximately $725 million.

Boston Scientific has gained about 17% in stock value since the January 2 market opening bell. This is despite the recent fading of the once-bright renal denervation star after Medtronic's Simplicity system failed in clinical trials that were widely seen as pivotal for future of the technology. Boston Scientific's Vessix platform is similar, although CEO Mike Mahoney says the company’s system is more advanced than Simplicity. Mahoney says he remains optimistic about renal denervation and alluded to potential applications for “other diseases” than hypertension, which was the subject of the failed trial. On January 17, the company also was denied a request for summary judgment in more than 8600 vaginal mesh lawsuits now pending in U.S District Court in West Virginia.

Globus Medical, another spinal implant manufacturer, opened at $20.15 on Jan. 2. The company announced on Jan. 8 the acquisition of Excelsius Surgical, which is developing a surgical robotic positioning platform for navigating and facilitating surgical access, implant sizing, positioning, and placement for the spine, brain, and therapeutic markets. Following the release of its preliminary 2013 results on January 14, the company managed a one-day 10% leap. The stock closed at $23.21 on the January 22. That’s a 15% total year-to-date rise is stock price.

Intuitive Surgical’s stock is up about 14%, to about $439 per share, so far this year. Better-than-expected quarterly results are helping to buoy Intuitive Surgical’s stock prices, even as its top executives continue damage control in the discourse regarding the safety of Da Vinci robotic surgery. Gary Guthart, Intuitive’s president and CEO, claims progress in the hearts and minds of hospitals, saying that despite reported adverse events and ongoing FDA issues, surgery with the Da Vinci system is still far safer than conventional open surgery. Intuitive’s latest recalls managed to garner a report in Injury Lawyer News. But the company also reported stronger than expected results in the fourth quarter. Still, the company’s stock was trading at more than $500 a year ago, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

Align Technology is up 10.6% so far this year, to more than $63 per share. Much of the gain appears to have taken place around the company’s January 14 announcement of a partnership with manufacturing giant 3M Co. Align makes Invisalign, which corrects misaligned teeth using a series of clear, nearly invisible, removable appliances that gently move teeth to a desired final position. 3M’s True Definition scanner will now be used  to submit a digital impression, in place of a traditional dental impression, as part of the Invisalign case submission process.

DexCom, whose stock nearly tripled in 2013, has continued to forge ahead with gains in excess of 5% so far this year. While not earth-shaking, the stock has outperformed not only the S&P 500 but also five top-rated large-cap medtech ETFs. The company's G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitoring system was named the winner of two awards that recognize the device's innovation, including the inaugural Everyday Health Award for Innovation, presented by wellness company, Everyday Health, and at The 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Digital Summit, where it was named one of the top 10 innovative products by the Tech Podcast Network.

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St. Jude is banking on its Nanostim leadless pacemaker.
St. Jude Medical stock is up about 5% so far this year, to about $65 per share, with the company predicting 3% to 5% sales growth in 2014. Company executives are excited about the prospects for the leadless pacemaker St. Jude gained through its 2013 acquisition of Nanostim. “In our neuromodulation business, we expect to transition from headwinds to tailwinds before the end of 2014. We expect our FDA warning letter to be resolved during 2014. We expect to launch new next-generation products in Europe and in the United States during 2014,” CEO Daniel Starks said in a recent conference call with analysts.

Philips Healthcare has formed a new unit, Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services, to offer hospitals customized clinical programs, advanced data analytics and interoperable, cloud-based platforms it says are necessary for new models of care. Philips says the new business will partner with healthcare providers to improve access, lower cost, and enhance quality across the continuum of care, from screening and diagnosis, to treatment and monitoring, and finally at-home after-care. And parent company Philips North America was named by CareerBliss.com as one of the “Happiest Places to Work in America” on Jan. 21. Still, the NYSE share price took a dip and is only up about 1.5% YTD.

Johnson & Johnson is only up about 1.5% so far this year, its stock dropping about a dollar per share in value, to $94.03, on Tuesday after suggesting that 2014 sales growth might not meet the levels expected by analysts. (The company predicted sales to grow from 3.7% to 4.7%, with 2014 sales ranging from $73.9 billion to $74.7 billion; analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected $74.26 billion.) J&J CEO Alex Gorsky acknowledged mixed fourth quarter results in the company’s medical device and diagnostics business, which only saw 1% growth in sales in 2013 after excluding acquisitions and divestitures. “It generally indicates that rates of surgical lab procedures here in the U.S. basically remained flat over the last 12 months. … However, there’s also some signs, some early signs, of improvements in areas like orthopedics. So overall, we believe that as economies recover, healthcare reform starts taking hold here in the U.S. and abroad, utilization rates are going to increase, and we remain very confident in the long term prospects for this market,” Gorsky told analysts on Tuesday. Nevertheless, the company and its DePuy unit stand to shell out billions of dollars to settle lawsuits related to metal-on-metal hip implants, and the company also faces lawsuits over vaginal mesh implants.

Phoenix X36 Hemodialysis System
Gambro makes a range of dialysis equipment such as this Phoenix X36 hemodialysis system.
Baxter International’s stock was flirting with going negative for the year on Thursday after reporting fourth-quarter net income that fell year-over-year to $326 million, or 59 cents per share, from $494 million, or 89 cents per share, during the fourth quarter of 2012. The company saw a one-time $366 million loss related to its acquisition of Swedish dialysis products manufacturer Gambro, business optimization programs, and recent collaborations with Coherus Biosciences and Cell Therapeutics. Company officials have said they are moving forward with products in the pipeline, and expect to reap benefits from Gambro. R&D spending was up 8% in 2013.