Will Boston Scientific's MADIT Defibrillators Make It?

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Includes: BSX, MDT, PFE, STJ
by: Mike Huckman

This takes the prize for the most dangerously optimistic acronym for a clinical trial. But MADIT (pronounced "made it") made it. Some folks with a lot of chutzpah at Guidant, now owned by Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX), apparently came up with the name for their big studies on implantable cardio defibrillators (ICDs).

What if MADIT failed?

Well, the media might have had a field day, i.e."MADIT didn't make it." But they got lucky...at least, this time. The results of the eight-year-long MADIT II study show people who had a heart attack and who got an ICD lived more than a year longer. A bigger, potentially more impactful clinical trial called MADIT-CRT is expected to report out very soon. Analysts think if MADIT-CRT makes it, the makers of ICDs including BSX, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), and St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) might have it made in the shade.

JPMorgan's medical device analyst Mike Weinstein says sales of ICDs were growing, on average, at nearly 25 percent a year. But since a safety scare surfaced a few years ago, sales are down slightly. He, along with other analysts and doctors believe positive results from MADIT-CRT combined with yesterday's MADIT II news could go a long way toward reinvigorating growth in this $4 billion segment of the heart device industry.

Weinstein says the rising tide would lift all boats, but STJ may stand to benefit the most because ICDs make up a big portion of its bottom line. STJ shares, though, were lower yesterday morning. Maybe that's because they're up about four bucks so far this month and made a move last week when Weinstein put out a research note to clients on the pending MADIT-CRT study. JPM has banked MDT and wants to do it again for MDT and also win business from STJ and BSX.

Meantime, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), yesterday morning, unveiled its MAINTAIN program. If you're out of work, you can get free Pfizer drugs.

As an acronym, it's a bit of a stretch, but it stands for Medicines Assistance For Those Who Are In Need.

How did they get MAINTAIN out of that? The company claims caring and concerned employees came up with the idea for the program which they're being asked to make donations to.

As I tweeted yesterday morning, let the philanthropic pharma PR war begin.