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Why Medtronic Fell by Almost 6% on Monday

By Eric Volkman – Oct 18, 2021 at 5:48PM

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An important clinical trial will last longer than some expected.

What happened

Investors weren't too high on high-profile medical device maker Medtronic (MDT 2.11%) on Monday. The company released a discouraging business update after market hours on Friday, and its stock took it on the chin the following trading day. Shares ended Monday's session down by 5.5% at $120.74.

So what

In that update, Medtronic said that a clinical trial of its Symplicity Renal Denervation System to lower blood pressure in hypertension patients will continue for an unspecified length of time. That dashed the hopes of investors -- and the expectations of certain analysts -- who had been looking forward to an early halt of the study.

Two medical professionals conferring in the lobby of a hospital.

Image source: Getty Images.

As anticipated by the company, an interim data analysis of the trial has been conducted by an independent data safety monitoring board. In Medtronic's words, the monitoring board "has recommended that clinical trial enrollment continue as planned, until the full, predefined sample size is reached."

While it's certainly better for a high-potential product to reach the market for a particular indication sooner rather than later, investors shouldn't have to wait forever for Symplicity's trial to conclude. The company now anticipates that will occur in the second half of 2022.

Now what

In reaction to the update, some analysts tracking Medtronic made adjustments to their views.

Wells Fargo's Larry Biegelsen lowered his price target on the healthcare stock to $144 from its previous level of $151, although he kept his overweight (buy) recommendation. BTIG's Sean Lavin reacted differently, boosting his price target by $2 a share to $142, and likewise maintaining his buy recommendation.

Most analysts seemed to essentially shrug off the news, however. In keeping her $154 per share price target and overweight rating on Medtronic, Morgan Stanley's Cecilia Furlong admitted that the trial's continuation was "not optimal," with potential approval coming in 2023, but said she still believes Medtronic has a fine opportunity with Symplicity.

Wells Fargo is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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