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St. Jude Hits New 52-Week High

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Shares of St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ) hit new 52-week high of $57.17 on Oct 4 and closed at $56.23 on the same date, which represented a solid one-year return of 32.5% and impressive year-to-date return of 56.1%.

The medical devices behemoth has a market cap of $16.15 billion. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months stood at approximately 1,620.4K.

Shares of St. Jude Medical rose 2.6% and reached 52-week high due to the positive indications given by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) regarding the approval of an implantable heart device manufactured by CardioMEMS, in which the company has a significant stake since 2010.

According to briefing documents released by FDA last week, the approval for CardioMEMS' Champion Heart Failure Monitoring System will be considered in a panel meeting on Oct 9 as the device is proved to be effective in reducing hospitalization rates among patients with heart failure.

STJ has a 19% stake in privately-held cardiac devices maker CardioMEMS and has the right to acquire the remaining shares of the company. In 2011, the Champion HF device failed to win regulatory approval due to lack of convincing clinical research support.

However, CardioMEMS conducted additional studies on the device and requested the FDA to reconsider its decision in 2012. In order to strengthen its relation with CardioMEMS, in the beginning of 2013, St. Jude had announced that it will provide $28 million in debt financing to gain an FDA approval for the device.

The CardioMEMS HF System is a permanently implantable pressure measurement system designed to provide daily pulmonary arterial pressure measurements including systolic, diastolic, and mean pulmonary arterial (:PA) pressure. These measurements are used to guide treatment of congestive heart failure. The FDA approval of the device should significantly boost STJ’s dwindling top line growth.

Currently, St. Jude Medical retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While we remain on the sidelines about the company, stocks that are currently performing well in the medical products industry include Trinity Biotech plc (TRIB) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and diaDexus, Inc. (DDXS) and Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX), both with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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