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NuVasive Launches Breakthrough in MIS Surgery -- LessRay

Zacks Equity Research

NuVasive, Inc. NUVA successfully continues to make way through the company’s strategy to strengthen footprint in the fast-growing spine market. Following last week’s announcement of Vertera Spine buyout, the company is once again in news, courtesy the commercial launch of its LessRay software technology system. 

Per NuVasive, this LessRay system is based on a propriety software algorithm and hardware components. It particularly works to help address overexposure to radiation in hospital operating rooms (O.R.), mostly in the case of minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS).

Per study results provided by the company, spine and orthopedic surgeons receive lifetime occupational radiation limit within the first 10 years of their career. Statistics reveal that cancer rates and contraction of cataracts associated with radiation exposure are nearly double compared with other surgery practices.

NuVasive claims that LessRay system’s proprietary image enhancement technology improves low-dose, low-radiation fluoroscopy images to derive similar diagnostic capabilities as those of conventional full-dose fluoroscopy. This will accordingly reduce radiation emission and exposure in the O.R. while retaining the high resolution of a full radiation dose shot.

NuVasive considers this breakthrough an important milestone in healthcare facilities as it begins to sell capital equipment and brings in technology advancements to the hospital O.R. Apart from curbing radiation exposure, this LessRay system enhances imaging capability to improve spine surgery productivity and eventually, predictability.

Taking into consideration the healthy pipeline of interests from customers, NuVasive expects a huge customer adoption rate following the launch of LessRay system.

Notably, NuVasive is leaving no stone unturned to capture the rapidly-evolving spine market. During the recently-reported second quarter of 2017, the company’s core U.S. spinal hardware business maintained the bullish trend by reporting 3% growth. The upside was driven by a strong consistent adoption of ReLine posterior fixation system within the company’s iGA platform. The company also witnessed a steady uptake of its recently launched expandable interbody cages and base TI interfixated within the ALIF procedure.

With the latest acquisition of Vertera Spine, NuVasive aims to market and distribute Vetera Spine’s FDA-approved COHERE Cervical and COALESCETM Lumbar Interbody fusion devices in the United States. This deal will also lend the company with a three-dimensional porous interbody technology across both polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and titanium materials.

Over the past three months, NuVasive has underperformed the broader industry. The stock has sunk 26% in contrast to the 1.6% gain of the broader industry during the period. We expect the company to bounce back with the slew of latest developments within Spine space.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

NuVasive currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked medical stocks are Edwards Lifesciences Corporation EW, Lantheus Holdings, Inc. LNTH and IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. IDXX.  Edwards Lifesciences sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Lantheus Holdings and IDEXX carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Edwards Lifesciences has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 15.2%. The stock has rallied roughly 19% over the last six months.

Lantheus Holdings has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 12.5%. The stock has surged 39.4% over the last six months.

IDEXX has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 19.8%. The stock has soared around 45.1% over the last year.

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