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Medtronic Launches Study for Early Lung Cancer Diagnosis

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Medical device major Medtronic plcMDT recently launched an international, multi-center clinical study named NAVIGATE, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of its minimallyinvasive image-guiding navigation system - superDimension - in detecting lung cancer. This reflects the company's aim to gain a competitive advantage over its peers by capitalizing on the growing demand for improved healthcareaccess.

Today lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., accounting for 27% of all cancer deaths. However, this disease is rarely detected except in the later stages, thus drastically reducing the long-term survival rates for patients. As a result, with increasing incidents of lung cancer, the morbidity and mortality rates associated with it are also risingrapidly.

In such a situation, easy and effective diagnosis of lung cancer at early stages is on demand. Medtronic's superDimension navigation system complies with this situation well as it employs a safe, minimally invasive procedure called Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (ENB), which helps physicians extract tissues from areas of lungs that are difficult-to-reach with traditional bronchoscopy.

Moreover, the ENB procedure utilizes the first-of-its-kind LungGPS technology, enabling physicians to spot lesions on a patient's lungs. Further, this LunGPS technology can identify the genetic profile of tumors, thereby facilitating personalized treatment for lung cancer patients, as the genetic characteristics of cancer tumors often differ among patients.

Per management, Medtronic's superDimention system is a safer approach for diagnosing lung cancer compared with other surgical procedures, since it uses patients' natural airways, thereby reducing risk of complications like pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

With increased adoption of this advanced navigation system, we believe Medtronic will help physicians detect lung cancer at early stages, which in turn, will enhance the long-term survival rates of patients. Evidently, it has been found that early detection and immediate treatment dramatically increases the typical long-term survival rate from 15% at 5 years to 88% at 10 years.

Through the 2500-patient NAVIGATE trial, Medtronic aims at validating the real-world impact of ENB procedure in significantly reducing the mortality rate of lung cancer. Encouragingly, this ENB procedure has been successfully conducted on 50,000 patients so far. Confident with the results, the company believes that its superDimension system will soon become the global standard-of-care for managing peripheral lung lesions.

Notably, this study initiation by Medtronic came in only a day after Veran Medical Technologies - a leader in image-guided endobronchial and percutaneous technology for diagnosis of lung cancer - won $30.6 million in venture financing to back its early lung cancer diagnostic and therapeutic device. This reflects tough competition prevailing in the global lung cancer therapeutic market, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% during 2014-2019.

Of late, this high-potential market has been witnessing increasing competition. We believe this is triggered by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) announcement, that it would cover lung cancer screening for smokers, in early 2015. This, subsequently, is expected to translate into higher number oflung cancer biopsies.

Given Medtronic's huge customer network, competitive leverage capacity and proven expertise in the MedTech industry, we expect it to capture a larger share of the global lung cancer therapeutic market, going ahead.

Currently, Medtronic has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked medical product stocks are ICU Medical, Inc. ICUI , OraSure Technologies, Inc. OSUR and NuVasive, Inc. NUVA . All three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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MEDTRONIC (MDT): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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