St. Jude Medical
) has enrolled the first patient for its MultiPoint Pacing
clinical study. The study will evaluate the efficacy of the
company's Quadripolar Pacing system belonging to the implantable
cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) product line under the larger
Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM) division.
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Quadripolar Pacing is becoming the new standard of care in
cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). MultiPoint Pacing
technology delivers pacing to multiple locations in the heart
rather than the traditional single pulse for each heartbeat. The
study will analyze the benefits of St. Jude's one-of-a-kind
Quadra Assura MP CRT-D and Quartet lead in delivering improved
hemodynamic support in patients receiving CRT.
The MultiPoint Pacing clinical study is being conducted under an
Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) from the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA). The study will enroll more than 500
patients across 50 centers in the U.S. As per the Heart Failure
Society of America, about 5 million people in the U.S are
suffering from heart failure with roughly 400,000 to 700,000 new
patients diagnosed annually.
St. Jude Medical is the only company that offers quadripolar
CRT-D technology in the U.S. and Japan and has recently launched
the world's first quadripolar MultiPoint Pacing technology in
Europe. This provides a competitive advantage to the company's
CRT segment to gain market share in the ICD market.
St. Jude's core CRM division is still underperforming. Revenues
from the CRM division fell 8% year over year in the first quarter
of 2013. The beleaguered ICD market, as reflected by sustained
implant volume pressure and the Riata/Durata lead issue,
continues to hurt CRM results. ICD sales declined 5% in the first
quarter but we believe that market trends will stabilize soon.
Additionally, the pacemaker business under CRM is currently
losing market share due to competitive pressure. Recently, the
company received CE Mark approval for its Allure Quadra Cardiac
Resynchronization Therapy Pacemaker (CRT-P). It is the world's
first pacemaker with the quadripolar lead technology. The
European launch of this product should help STJ's soft pacemaker
business to regain some lost market share.
St. Jude's peer
) also reported disappointing CRM sales in the first quarter of
2013, indicating sustained softness in the CRM market.
St. Jude currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While we
remain on the sidelines regarding STJ, medical stocks such as
Coventry Health Care
) warrant a look.