The JPMorgan Healthcare Conference concludes today, and I'm wrapping up my self-inflicted challenge to increase coverage of the lesser-known companies there. Today's pick: Edwards Lifesciences
Despite its broad-sounding name, Edwards is a rather focused company specializing in heart valves and critical-care technologies. This spinoff of Baxter International
Because of the differences in the approval process for medical devices in Europe and the U.S., medical-device makers almost always launch new devices in Europe first and then follow up with a clinical trial required for Food and Drug Administration approval. That gives investors a nice look at future revenue.
For Edwards, the next big thing is its new transcatheter heart valve. As many as 30% to 60% of patients with aortic stenosis remain untreated because they don't want to or can't have open-heart surgery. Edwards' transcatheter heart valve allows doctors to insert the new valve using a catheter through the circulatory system, similar to the way drug-eluting stents from Boston Scientific
Edwards expects to have data from the clinical trial for U.S. approval in the second half of this year, which could result in approval some time in 2011. While sales are only expected to hit $170 million to $190 million this year, Edwards estimates that the entire market would exceed $2 billion in four to five years if the trial is a success.
Trading at about 26 times this year's earnings guidance, Edwards isn't particularly cheap. But the company expects to increase sales by 10% to 13% this year and grow the bottom line by 17% to 19% through improving margins. If it can hit those targets, investors will still "heart" the company, even with the premium valuation.
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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of and has written puts on Medtronic. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers chocolate hearts over SweeTarts.