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November 21, 2012
11:32 EDTTHOR, HTWRHeartWare falls, Thoratec rallies after Wells Fargo flips ratings
Heart pump maker HeartWare (HTWR) is sinking and its competitor, Thoratec (THOR), is climbing after Wells Fargo wrote that the high rate of strokes among patients who have used Heartware's HVAD pump is worrisome. In a trial of Heartware's HVAD pump, which is designed to draw blood from the left ventricle and propel it through an outflow graft connected to the patient's ascending aorta, 11.8% of patients who used the device developed strokes, versus just 4.3% of patients who used a similar product made by Thoratec, Wells Fargo wrote in a note to investors, citing interim data. As a result, HeartWare has placed a warning about strokes on the instructions for its HVAD pump. Wells Fargo believes that this warning may curtail sales of HeartWare's device in the U.S., and the firm downgraded the company's stock to Market Perform from Outperform in a note to investors today. Wells Fargo also upgraded Thoratec to Outperform from Market Perform, as it expects the company to benefit from reduced demand for HeartWare's solution. Moreover, Wells predicts that HeartWare will report lower than expected 2013 revenue, while Thoratec is likely to beat 2013 revenue expectations. The firm also believes there is now a greater chance that HeartWare's device will not be approved as a destination therapy. In late morning trading, HeartWare fell $4.18, or 4.67%, to $85.36, while Thoratec climbed $1.91, or 5.46%, to $36.91.
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