Monday, November 8, 2010

Baxter International raises outlook after third-quarter earnings beat expectations

Baxter International Inc.’s third-quarter earnings beat Wall Street expectations Thursday, propelled by a jump in sales in the company’s IV solutions business. After the company’s earnings release, Baxter’s stock price rose by more than 3 percent.
The Deerfield-based medical supply and pharmaceutical company posted earnings of $594 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, besting Wall Street’s consensus projections of 97 cents.  Net income rose 12 percent from the same quarter in 2009, when the company earned $532 million, or 87 cents per diluted share.
In the 2009 quarter, the company incurred a one-time charge of $27 million for the retirement of a syringe pump.  Without that cost, 2010 third-quarter earnings would have been 1 percent lower than 2009.
Still, the company raised the floor of its 2010 annual forecast from $3.93 to $3.96 per diluted share, and now expects 2 percent to 3 percent annual sales growth. Its previous forecast called for growth in the range of 1 percent to 3 percent.  The top forecast figure remained at $3.98.
“We continue to aggressively manage general administrative and discretionary spending across the company,” Robert Parkinson, Baxter’s chairman and chief financial officer, said in a Thursday morning conference call.  “We’re selectively investing in several key promotional activities aimed at demand creation, new product launches and driving future growth of our higher margin products.”
Baxter’s third-quarter revenue grew by 3 percent to $3.2 billion from last year’s $3.1 billion.  The medical delivery sector, which manufactures intravenous solutions and sets, intravenous nutritional products, medical pumps and drug manufacturing products, spurred much of the company’s third-quarter momentum by racking up $1.2 billion dollars in sales, up 2 percent globally and 12 percent domestically.
The company’s bioscience division also is outperforming analysts’ expectations, led by developments in critical-care blood plasma replacement therapeutics. Sales at the division did not grow significantly during the quarter but have grown 3 percent so far this year, totaling $3.4 billion.
“We view this commentary, quarterly results, and outlook as all positives for the company and encourage investors to revisit what should be a core holding in the healthcare space,” said Daniel Owczarski, a financial analyst with Avondale Partners LLC.
In the first nine months, Baxter has earned $1.1 billion, or $1.79 per diluted share, down 35 percent from the same period last year, when the company earned $1.7 billion, or $2.66 per diluted share. Revenue, rose 3 percent to $9.3 billion, compared with last year’s $9.1 billion.  

King Pharma Disappoints

King Pharma's branded Pharmaceuticals segment declined 43.3% with revenues coming in at $160.8 million. Revenues of almost all key products declined from the year-ago period.
Thrombin-JMI sales declined 25.9% to $32.2 million. We expect Thrombin-JMI sales to continue declining due to tough competition in the form of Bristol-Myers Squibbs’ Recothrom and Johnson & Johnson’s Evithrom.

Seven U.S. Medical Centers Commence Study to Change Femoral Artery Cath Lab Access

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Arstasis is pleased to announce that patient enrollment has begun in the RECITAL (A Patient Registry Evaluating Closure Following Access with the Arstasis One Access System) Study.  The non-randomized, prospective, post-approval study is anticipated to enroll up to 500 patients in at least seven U.S. hospitals.  The goal of the study is to observe the clinical safety and effectiveness of the Arstasis One Access System in patients undergoing diagnostic angiography procedures through the femoral artery.
The first patient was enrolled at La Paz Regional Medical Center inParker, Arizona.  "We've begun performing Arstaotomy procedures routinely in our cath lab because they make femoral artery access safer for our patients, easier for me and my staff, and less expensive for our hospital compared with closure devices or manual compression," said Dr. Frank Kresock, chief of interventional cardiology at La Paz Regional Medical Center, the physician who performed the procedure.
Since 1959, physicians have been using the Modified Seldinger Technique (or "Seldinger Technique" for short) to insert flexible catheters into the femoral artery of patients for the purpose of performing procedures in the patient's arterial-vascular system.  The most prevalent such procedure, angiography, is thought to be performed more than half a million times per month worldwide.  At the end of every such case, each patient is left with a substantial hole in his/her femoral artery (upper inner thigh) which typically takes significant effort and cath lab resources to get to stop bleeding.  With the Arstasis One Access System, however, physicians may create a shallow-angle needle pathway through the wall of the femoral artery.  At the end of the procedure, when the sheath is withdrawn, the shallow-angle pathway collapses from the normal pressure of the patient's femoral artery blood flow from below and approximately 3-4 minutes of mild, non-occlusive finger-pressure from above, resulting in a quickly sealing access site.
"The Arstasis One femoral artery access system marks the beginning of a new approach to heart catheterization," commented Zoltan G. Turi, MD, the Director of the Vascular Center at Cooper University Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Camden, New Jersey, and the national principal investigator of the RECITAL study.  "We hope to show that patients who participate in this study benefit from femoral artery closure that has advantages over regular manual compression", Dr. Turi continued. "We are also interested in this technology because Arstasis facilitated closure, unlike vascular closure devices, does not result in any foreign materials being implanted."
The study will also assess patient satisfaction due to reduction of pain and discomfort as well as early mobility.  In non-U.S. clinical trials the resulting closed access site was typically so secure that a patient could get up from his/her bed and begin walking hours sooner than would be the case with a standard femoral arteriotomy, sometimes as soon as those patients receiving Vessel Closure Devices.
"This procedure over the Angioseal, in my opinion, was 100% better because of the recovery time, less swelling and bruising. This is much better, I'm glad I got the Arstaotomy," said Russell McKenzie, Dr. Kresock's 75-year old patient at La Paz Regional Medical Center who was the first to enroll in the RECITAL study.
Detailed information about the Arstasis One, and the Arstaotomy procedure, is available at

Arstasis, Inc., headquartered in Redwood City, California, is a medical device manufacturer dedicated to bringing innovative access devices to cardiologists, interventional radiologists, their staffs, and patients.  The company's first product, the Arstasis One, was cleared for U.S. commercialization by the FDA in 2010.  The device is used in the Arstaotomy? procedure, a new way to gain access to the femoral artery that improves upon the Seldinger Technique and that some physicians believe results in a more pleasant and efficient cath lab and post-procedure experience for clinician and patient alike.