UPDATE 2-Stereotaxis shares tank on Q4 loss, catheter delay

lunes 3 de marzo de 2008 20:58 CET

(Adds analyst's comments, updates share movement)

By Sreerupa Mitra

BANGALORE, March 3 (Reuters) - Stereotaxis Inc STXS.O posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss and said a Johnson and Johnson (JNJ.N: Cotización) unit will delay marketing the medical device maker's catheter to treat irregular heartbeats, sending its shares down to a lifetime low.

Given the marketing delay, Stereotaxis said it is not in a position to provide outlook for 2008, but added that it would be better positioned to achieve profitability in 2009.

"The company is relying on Johnson and Johnson for the product and is hoping it will drive its sales. So, if the catheter is not available, it is likely to have a negative impact on Stereotaxis' sales," Collins Stewart analyst Keay Nakae said.

Stereotaxis' said its partner J&J will temporarily halt procedures done with the magnetic irrigated catheters and will delay full commercialization due to issues with product specifications.

An external evaluation of the catheter, which is used to treat the heart condition known as complex arrhythmia, found that a small number of the devices exhibited signs of char or coagulum formation, CEO Bevil Hogg said in a statement.

"Although it is our observation that changes in temperature setting and saline flow have largely resolved this issue in the clinical setting, our catheter partner has advised us that these characteristics are inconsistent with the product specifications," Hogg added.

Analyst Nakae, who has a "buy" rating on the stock, expects J&J to launch the product by the third quarter.   Continuación...