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Edwards, Medtronic Rise as Valves Benefit Heart Patients

Edwards Lifesciences Heart Valve
A diagram of the Edwards Lifesciences Corp. heart valve and NovaFlex delivery system in use. Source: Edwards Lifesciences Corp. via Bloomberg

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. and Medtronic Inc. rose in New York trading after studies were released that will increase use of their man-made valves that can be inserted into the heart without cracking open the chest.

Amgen Inc. also gained after releasing data that showed its experimental heart drug was effective in lowering cholesterol. The studies on the companies’ products were released at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Washington starting on March 29.

The valves from Medtronic and Edwards offer new options to heart patients, cut recovery times and improve mortality rates. Amgen’s product offers the potential of reducing cholesterol in people with the highest risk.

Edwards, based in Irvine, California, gained 4.2 percent to $74.17 at 4 p.m. New York time. Medtronic rose 1.9 percent to $61.54. Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, California, increased 2.3 percent to $123.34.

Edwards’ heart valve is threaded through an artery and inserted into the heart using a catheter, as is Minneapolis-based Medtronic’s. Medtronic’s device has better death rates than open-heart surgery, research found, and cut recovery times by weeks. Edwards’ valve, called Sapien XT, was found to be easier to insert than Medtronic’s CoreValve, according to a study presented yesterday. The market for the devices could be worth $2.5 billion, according to Glenn Novarro, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

Amgen presented data showing that evolocumab, which mimics a rare genetic mutation in people with naturally low levels of bad LDL cholesterol, cut levels of the blood fat by 55 percent to 66 percent in a final stage trial. Pfizer Inc., and partners Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. are developing competitors.

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