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Tuesday announced an agreement under which it will co-promote

Johnson & Johnson's

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groundbreaking cardiovascular stent technology.

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The drug-eluting Cypher stent, developed by Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary Cordis Corp., is used to prevent blockage of the arteries after surgery. It is currently available in more than 80 countries and has been used to treat more than 500,000 patients.

Guidant said the deal will add 4 cents to 6 cents a share to earnings in 2004, but the Indianapolis-based company did not revise quarterly and full-year guidance. The medical-device maker still expects to earn 52 cents to 57 cents a share for the quarter and $2.40 to $2.55 a share for the year.

According to Thomson First Call, analysts' consensus forecasts for the periods are 56 cents and $2.43 a share, respectively.

Guidant said its own drug-eluting stent program will not be affected by the agreement. The company expects to launch its Champion stent system in Europe in the first quarter of 2005 and in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2006, pending regulatory approval.

We are enthusiastic about expanding our product offering with a drug-eluting stent that has consistently demonstrated exceptional clinical results," the company said in a statement. "We believe this strategic agreement will provide significant benefits to both organizations by building upon the strengths of both companies' sales, marketing and product development resources."

Guidant shares gained 60 cents, or 0.9%, to $64.05 in premarket trading.