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Lazard Freres Lowers Thoratec to Sell

Lazard Freres downgraded Thoratec (THOR) to sell from hold.

Analyst Alex Arrow says surgeons complain Thoratec's much-vaunted recent "Destination Therapy" reimbursement isn't helping because cardiologists aren't sending them patients. Meanwhile, he says cardiologists tell him patients they refer to surgeons for "Destination Therapy" pumps get turned down. He says this combination points to a painfully slow product ramp and Thoratec's preannounced second-quarter results.

Arrow says he sees little reason to be excited about growth prospects of any of the company's product lines. He cut the 2004-06 revenue and EPS estimate, and reassigned a new low-growth comparison group for valuation. He cut the $15 target to $7.

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