Monday, November 27, 2006
According to the WSJ’s „Heard on the Street” column, increasing concerns about devices that open clogged arteries are causing some chest pains on Wall St. Just a few months ago, many analysts were ebullient about these drug-eluting stents. J&J (JNJ), Boston Scientific (BSX) and Abbott (ABT) recently have placed big bets on the mkt, with its roughly $5.4bn in annual sales. The technology has been battered in recent months by safety questions, and some co’s have run into manufacturing and other challenges. There could be new hurdles in coming weeks. Investors and analysts are toning down their enthusiasm, with some even saying the mkt will shrink, as attention turns to a high-profile govt panel that will hold hearings soon on the devices' safety. "The growth prospects for drug-eluting stents are poor, certainly in the immediate and near term, and perhaps even in the longer term," said Robert Goldman, of KeyBanc. Competition is rising and prices are falling, he said, while "safety concerns are exacerbating the problems and making the prospects for the mkt all the worse."