Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) seems to be making a comeback, but we'll have to wait and see if it can pull a John Travolta and get its star out of the gutter.

Since Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT) and Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) entered the U.S. drug-eluting stent market last year, Johnson & Johnson's market share has fallen precipitously to just 15% in the first quarter -- down a whopping 28 points.

But you don't expect the health-care giant to lie down and die, do you? The company hasn't survived for over a century by giving up when competition got tough.

Johnson & Johnson is developing a next-generation drug-eluting stent called Nevo, and, so far, the data looks good. In a head-to-head test against Boston Scientific's (NYSE:BSX) Taxus Liberte, the Nevo had less tissue growth into the stent than the Liberte. That's promising -- the stent is designed to hold open the blood vessel after all, so that's a good sign -- but Johnson & Johnson will need to show that Nevo is capable of lowering major adverse coronary events like heart attacks and strokes to prove that it's a better product. It's trending in the right direction, but the trial hasn't been going on long enough to prove that for certain.

Nevo will also need to prove its worth against the new kid on the block, Abbott's Xience V, which is becoming the standard of care. Johnson & Johnson recently started a new trial to compare the stents, but data won't be available for a while.

The way the two areas have set up approval processes, Europe requires far less data for marketing approval than the U.S. Therefore, investors will likely get a European preview of how easy it will be for Johnson & Johnson to make a U.S. comeback in a few years.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.