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Earnings In Brief

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Hospital spending picks up for Varian: North American orders for Varian Medical Systems' radiation oncology products were up 12% in the third quarter, ended July 2, the firm said on a July 28 earnings call. This compares to a 12% year-over-year decline in North American orders last quarter. The turnaround reflects a "large number of small orders" from hospitals, which appeared to increase spending in the quarter, according to Varian CEO Tim Guertin. Freestanding radiation treatment facilities, meanwhile, are still in recovery mode, he said. The firm's worldwide oncology orders grew 10% to $507 million. Varian's total net revenue for the quarter was $578 million, up 13%

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People In Brief

NMT Medical: The CEO and board chairman of the struggling structural heart device firm have each left the company and Chief Operating Officer Richard E. Davis was tapped to replace them, NMT announced Aug. 26. Frank Martin, who served as president and CEO for about a year and a half, is stepping down, as is James J. Mahoney, Jr., chairman of the board since January 2008. The company also reduced the size of its board. Davis said the firm is "considering all potential financing alternatives and will continue to evaluate our strategic options accordingly." The firm reported in June that its STARFlex patent foramen ovale closure device missed its primary endpoint in the closely watched CLOSURE I stroke/transient ischemic attack pivotal trial (1"The Gray Sheet" Aug. 2, 2010)

People In Brief

NMT Medical: The CEO and board chairman of the struggling structural heart device firm have each left the company and Chief Operating Officer Richard E. Davis was tapped to replace them, NMT announced Aug. 26. Frank Martin, who served as president and CEO for about a year and a half, is stepping down, as is James J. Mahoney, Jr., chairman of the board since January 2008. The company also reduced the size of its board. Davis said the firm is "considering all potential financing alternatives and will continue to evaluate our strategic options accordingly." The firm reported in June that its STARFlex patent foramen ovale closure device missed its primary endpoint in the closely watched CLOSURE I stroke/transient ischemic attack pivotal trial (1"The Gray Sheet" Aug. 2, 2010)

Research In Brief

NMT PFO stroke trial comes up short: Preliminary results of the 910-patient CLOSURE I study of NMT Medical's STARFlex patent foramen ovale closure device show it is not superior to best medical therapy for preventing stroke and transient ischemic attack, the trial's primary endpoint, the firm reports June 17. Closure rates for STARFlex were 86.5%. NMT is now in discussions with FDA about the next steps relating to the stroke/TIA indication. The firm had planned to submit a PMA this year (1"The Gray Sheet" April 13, 2009). Although not statistically significant, "The preliminary data did demonstrate that our implant device provided a small benefit over current best medical therapy and maintained an excellent safety profile," NMT CEO Frank Martin notes. The company will discuss full results of the trial in November at the American Heart Association annual meeting. STARFlex is currently approved for ventricular septal defect and atrial level shunt patients. In a same-day research note, Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen speculates the CLOSURE I results could spell bad news for AGA Medical, which is conducting the RESPECT study of its Amplatzer PFO occluder in stroke. "Although there are significant differences between the CLOSURE I and RESPECT trials, we believe the CLOSURE I results will make it more challenging for physicians to close a PFO," he writes

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