Analyst David Lothson cut the target to $55. He says Guidant will announce a possible delay in its Champion stent program, which discloses issues that may result in manufacturing process modifications or stent design changes. If the new design is required, it could delay the filing for the Future IV stent by up to six months (December, 2004), and may push the U.S. approval date to late 2006, about the same time for the Vision-E stent.
Lothson says the window of opportunity for Champion may be closing. If entry is delayed to the end of the year or later, this creates a major competitive disadvantage for Guidant's eventual position in the drug-eluting stent market. Any delay for Guidant is a plus for rival Boston Scientific.