Don't get me wrong. I believe AVE has the EASIEST use characteristics (visible, low profile) and best technology available to date (flex, hoop, etc). That says nothing about whether it will perform any better once implanted.
I have done well with both AVE and GDT as an investor, but some food for thought:
Will AVE pass factory FDA inspection? Will AVE resolve the JnJ patent dispute (at least GDT has some serious bargaining chips)? Will leading centers' shelves be too stuffed with GDT product to make room for AVE (in the short term)? Can AVE overcome the GDT bundling (balloons, wires, stents, etc) strategies that are inevitable (if not already being used)? Assuming these questions can be answered positively with a high degree of confidence, great.
I think 1998, from a US stents point of view, will be shared by both GDT and AVE. The other players are a long way off with competitive technologies or regulatory approval, judging from the European Thorax Center conference last week. I think the same could be said for Japan once the two companies get reimbursement clearance.
Keep in mind the PMA 6 month mark is 2/98 for AVE for a response, although I'm sure you know that. Of course, it could come earlier, but a response is not necessarily an approval. Here's hoping that it is!