SurModics' Profitable Ride

SurModics (Nasdaq: SRDX  ) is something of a rare bird. For all of the talk about convergence between the biotech/pharmaceutical world and the medical device world, only a precious few companies have actually made money from the concept.

For its second quarter, SurModics continued to do just that. Revenue was up 23% to just under $16 million, and net income (excluding a $30.3 million in-process R&D charge) climbed 36% to $5.9 million.

While royalties and revenue related to the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) Cypher drug-coated stent continue to make up a very large component of SurModics' business, non-J&J revenue was in the majority for the fourth straight quarter. Although most of the 82 products that are on the market and generating revenue for SurModics make modest contributions on an individual basis, every piece helps and contributes to the profitability of the business.

During the quarter, the company signed six new licenses, and SurModics customers introduced two new products. In addition to the 82 products that were on the market by the end of the quarter, there are an additional 64 products that have been licensed but not yet commercially launched.

The company is also moving ahead with a clinical study of its InnoRx drug-coated intravitreal implant. SurModics expects to begin a phase 1 pilot clinical study in the June quarter, and clinical site recruitment is under way. Once recruitment is finished, SurModics plans to have 30 patients enrolled at up to five sites for what will amount to a quick safety study.

No doubt SurModics stock has been hot, moving up nearly 80% over the past year in part because of the ongoing success of the J&J Cypher stent and the company's efforts to diversify away from such heavy reliance on that single (though very successful) product.

Trading at nearly 12 times sales, SurModics is one of the most expensive companies around in this hybrid world of drugs and devices. That valuation is particularly interesting relative to Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation FlamelTechnologies (Nasdaq: FLML  ) and AngiotechPharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ANPI  ) -- both of which are also profitable but trade at considerably lower relative valuations.

While I'm not going to trash or bad-mouth SurModics, and there is a case to be made that SurModics deserves a higher valuation than Flamel or Angiotech, investors need to approach the stock with their eyes fully open. I have no doubt that SurModics' drug delivery technologies will continue to be in high demand, but I do wonder how much of that future demand is already baked into the current stock price.

For more on the world of drug delivery and enhancement:

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson owns shares of Johnson & Johnson.


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