Inside Wall Street
THIS STARTUP IS A REAL HEARTTHROB
Shares of Angeion (ANGN) have performed dramatically, rising from 57/8 in mid-October to nearly 9 by Jan. 23. That's quite a feat for a little company that has yet to make a penny. And its rivals are giants in cardiovascular and neurological medical devices, where Angeion is still trying to gain a toehold. What's pushing up the stock?
Some savvy investors say that Angeion's chief product, the Sentinel implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), is the smallest and the most sophisticated such heartbeat-regulating device yet. The Food & Drug Administration apparently agrees. In one of its fastest approvals yet, the FDA authorized Angeion within 30 days to begin its human clinical tests.
Money manager Dennison Veru of Awad Associates says the stock will now be "event-driven," as Angeion moves to become a revenue-generating company. He expects two things to push up the stock: Initial U.S. human implants of an ICD will take place a few days into the trials, and Angeion will get approval to market the implantable ICD in Europe.
Another boost to Angeion bulls: St. Jude Medical, a large producer of pacemakers, which has a 5% stake, is eager to see the Sentinel marketed in Europe, where St. Jude has great marketing muscle. Veru says St. Jude has no ICD product of its own, and some pros speculate that it's eyeing Angeion as a takeover target "after the Sentinel clears the clinical hurdles."
Analyst Chris Sassouni of Raymond James & Associates says the first quarter of 1996 will be "the most momentous" in Angeion's history, "so we will be aggressive buyers of the stock at its current price."BY GENE G. MARCIAL