Biolase CEO Draws the Company Out of an Abysmal Year

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 |  Includes: BIOL, HSIC
by: Douglas Cress

Jake St. Philip, Chief Executive Officer of Biolase Technology (BLTI), continues to instill investor confidence as he draws the company out of an abysmal year. Biolase, which traded over $10/share as late as April, hit a 52-week low of $2.20 in December. Shares opened at $3.47 Monday. A downturn in domestic and international sales caused the company to miss several quarterly revenue estimates.

St. Philip, a former Cardinal Health executive, took the helm in January. His hiring was part of an overall management shake-up that led to the departure of CEO Jeffrey Jones and CFO Richard Harrison.

In January, the company announced that it expects fourth-quarter sales of more than $20 million - a record for the company and well ahead of analysts’ $17.4 million target. Improved relations with Henry Schein (NASDAQ:HSIC), a key distributor, were largely responsible for the upturn. According to The Street, “that partnership has been the source of both high hopes and major disappointments in the past.”

Expanded indications for Waterlase not to distract from singular focus on dental products

On Thursday, Biolase announced that it received 510(k) clearance from the FDA allowing it to market a version of its Waterlase MD Laser System for use in dermatological applications as well as general and plastic surgery. FDA-cleared indications for device now include incision, excision, ablation, vaporization and coagulation of dermatologic tissues. General surgical use includes skin incision, tissue dissection, excision of external tumors and lesions, complete or partial resection of internal organs, tumors and lesions, and tissue ablation.

According to St. Philip, “FDA clearances [will] build on our proprietary intellectual assets and add value that can be monetized through licensing, partnerships and in some cases future product offerings.”

The company has yet to announce how such a partnership might unfold; St. Phillip made it clear that the new indications will not distract from the dental turnaround already in place, “Our singular operational focus today is executing in the dental suite and building on the success of our hard- and soft-tissue dental laser franchise.”