Why Edwards Lifesciences Corp. Shares Soared

See why Medtronic's pain is Edwards Lifesciences gain.

Sean Williams
Sean Williams
Apr 14, 2014 at 1:40PM
Health Care

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW), a developer of surgical heart valve therapy products, today rocketed higher by as much as 16% after a federal judge in Delaware on Friday granted a preliminary injunction to limit sales of Medtronic's (NYSE:MDT) CoreValve system in the U.S. beginning in seven business days.

So what: According to the press release from Edwards Lifesciences, this ruling relates to a federal jury decision four years ago that CoreValue infringed upon Edwards' U.S. Andersen transcatheter aortic valve replacement patent. The judge also decreed that both Edwards and Medtronic should confer to determine in which instances CoreValve can still be used. As should come as no surprise, Medtronic plans to appeal the court's decision. In response to the late-Friday ruling, JPMorgan Chase upgraded Edwards to neutral from underweight and lifted its price target to $78 from $60. The bank also downgraded Medtronic to neutral and lowered its price target to $64.

Now what: This is certainly positive news for Edwards Lifesciences shareholders considering that the company's top-line growth has been stuck around 5% for some time now, and it could lead to increased sales of Edwards' Sapien valves. Of course, shareholders of either company will want to keep in mind that this is merely an injunction within the U.S., so CoreValve system sales won't be affected in foreign markets. With regard to valuation, given that aforementioned middling growth rate, Edwards' forward P/E of 24 might be a bit excessive even with an aging baby boomer population. For now I'm perfectly happy remaining on the sidelines and watching this situation play out.