The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Elan, Biogen Idec, Cytokinetics, QLT and Medtronic

  The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Elan, Biogen Idec, Cytokinetics, QLT and
                                  Medtronic

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, April 4, 2013

CHICAGO, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Elan Corporation plc (NYSE:ELN),
Biogen Idec (Nasdaq:BIIB), Cytokinetics Inc. (Nasdaq:CYTK), QLT Inc.
(Nasdaq:QLTI) and Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Elan Sells Off Tysabri Stake

Elan Corporation plc (NYSE:ELN) recently closed its Tysabri (natalizumab)
collaboration transaction with Biogen Idec (Nasdaq:BIIB). As a result, Biogen
gained full strategic, commercial and operational control over the multiple
sclerosis drug.

The transaction was initially announced in Feb 2013. As per the terms of the
transaction Biogen made an upfront payment of $3.25 billion to Elan. Elan
stated that it will invest a portion of the amount in different business
assets. The company intends to refinance its outstanding debt through a share
repurchase program by utilizing $1 billion of the upfront proceeds.

Elan is also eligible to receive a royalty payment of 12% on worldwide net
sales of Tysabri (for all indications) for the first year. After the first
year, Elan will receive a royalty of 18% on up to $2 billion of global net
sales of Tysabri and 25% thereafter. Tysabri sales came in at $1.6 billion in
2012.

We note that last month encouraging data was announced on Tysabri. Data showed
that Tysabri treatment resulted in lower rate of first relapse compared to
other multiple sclerosis drugs.

We believe that the loss of Tysabri is huge setback at to Elan, since the
product was its primary source of revenue. We expect Elan to actively pursue
in-licensing deals or acquisitions to boost its product portfolio.

Elan, a biotechnology company, currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong
Sell). Currently, well-placed biotech stocks include Cytokinetics Inc.
(Nasdaq:CYTK) and QLT Inc. (Nasdaq:QLTI). Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank
#1 (Strong Buy). Biogen also carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

FDA Clears Affinity, Boosting Medtronic

The recent US Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") 510(k) clearance for
Affinity Fusion oxygenation system has enhanced the structural heart business
of medical devices major Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT). The company also
announced the first US clinical use of this new oxygenation system. Notably,
last September, the company gained CE Mark for this system in Europe.

According to Medtronic, this new system, which combines several advanced
features, oxygenates and removes carbon dioxide from blood during several
open-heart surgical procedures. The company claims that these new features
potentially reduce the risk of stroke, preventing the entry of air bubbles in
blood during the surgery procedure. According to the company, this system can
be helpful for hospitals, which are focusing on implementation of patient
blood management programs and other initiatives.

With a number of heart patients undergoing cardiac surgery annually, Medtronic
remains hopeful about the greater adoption of this oxygenation system among
physicians and hospitals.The company encouragingly noted that, this year,
there would be about 1 million cases of cardiopulmonary bypass worldwide. The
process has already included the collaboration between the company and more
than 500 perfusionists globally.

OurTake

Medtronic's consistent expansion of its portfolio via approvals in the
domestic and international market is encouraging. With the FDA approval for
Affinity Fusion oxygenation system, the company extended its structural heart
portfolio. Medtronic's focus on the structural heart business is likely to
deliver positive results, as substantial adoption of newer products should
leverage the top line.

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