Painless Root Canals, Thanks to BioLase

By Gene G. Marcial

Little-known BioLase Technology (BLTI ), maker of LaserSmile for teeth whitening, has other dental and surgical products that should make investors smile. So says Peter Cardillo, research director at Global Partners Securities, which rates BioLase, now trading at 5.30 a share, a strong buy, with a 12-month target of 13. Global has been buying stock. BioLase's WaterLase Hydrokinetic dental laser, for instance, says Cardillo, works without generating the heat and vibration of high-speed drills. It lets dentists perform procedures such as root canals painlessly and without anesthetic. In 1999, the Food & Drug Administration approved WaterLase for both dental bone and soft-tissue procedures, he notes--the first such system to win this O.K.

Dalton Chandler of investment firm Needham, who rates the stock a strong buy, says the potential for WaterLase is huge. Its average cost is $40,000, so sales have yet to ramp up. But they are high-margin tools, says Chandler. On Jan. 21, BioLase said it would meet the high end of estimates, thanks to rising demand. Chandler lifted his 2002 earnings estimate from 10 cents a share to 13 cents. He still forecasts 34 cents for 2003.

Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

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