Analyst: St. Jude May Branch Out into Stent Market

A senior analyst with Wells Fargo Securities reported that St. Jude's minority investment in Micell Technologies may signal its entrance into the drug-eluting stent market.

Little Canada-based St. Jude Medical could be entering the drug-eluting stent market through its minority investment in Durham, North Carolina-based Micell Technologies, according to an industry analyst.

Larry Biegelsen, a senior analyst with Wells Fargo Securities, released a report on Monday indicating that St. Jude's $15 million investment in Micell could be the company's entry into the $4 billion stent market.

According to Biegelsen, St. Jude will be one of the most likely distributors of Micell's MiStent-a drug-eluting stent that has a bioabsorbable polymer-after it receives approval from regulators.

Drug-eluting stents are coated tubes that are placed into an artery to keep it from re-closing. Like other coronary stents, it is left permanently in the artery.

Micell is currently conducting clinical trials for the stent, which could receive regulatory approval in Europe by the end of 2012 and in the United States by 2015, Biegelsen wrote.

There are other contenders for distribution rights to the stent-including Fridley-based Medtronic; New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson; and Abbott Park, Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories.

But St. Jude has an advantage “because it has more knowledge and insight into the programs at Micell through this investment, which entitles it to observe board meetings,” Biegelsen wrote in the report.

In an e-mailed statement, St. Jude-which does not have any rights to Micell's MiStent through its investment in the company-said that its 2009 investment in Micell was “aimed at exploring potential new applications for its proprietary coating technologies.”

St. Jude is among Minnesota's 20-largest public companies based on its revenue, which totaled $5.17 billion in 2010.