Market penetration of Given Imaging's M2A is a given, says Ilanot Batucha

Given Imaging (Nasdaq:GIVN) ( GIVN) is now somewhere between a "dream in a briefcase" company and one that actually makes money, says Tel Aviv brokerage Ilanot Batucha. The company seems to have all the critical components needed to make it, including four patents on its technology, sums up analyst Sophie Galper.

"The company's technology is characterized by significant relative advantages compared with traditional methods to diagnose gastric tract maladies," she writes of its M2A, a camera-in-a-capsule patients ingest that travels through the digestive system, sending real-time images to a receiver worn on the belt. The videocam then passes out the natural way.

The imaging technology's market penetration is a given, Galper concludes, given the advantages of the Yokneam, Israel-based company's solution.

Which does not mean there are no risks: there is always the danger of a pernicious side-effect coming to light, and there are the usual perils involved in Given Imaging being a young hi-tech company with small revenues and no profit yet, Galper notes.

Ilanot Batucha rates the company a high-risk Buy and set a price target of $15.8, 27% above its opening price Thursday.

About 5% of the United States population is thought to suffer from digestive tract maladies. Small-intestine diagnostic procedures are carried out on about 1.5 million Americans each year.

A pessimistic scenario would give Given Imaging a U.S. market potential of $700 million a year, but a rosier view leads to estimates in the billions, Galper says. That optimistic view assumes that more people need diagnostic procedures than actually receive them.

Five U.S. health insurers covering 26 million people have already agreed to cover the costs of M2A procedures, she adds. Their acquiescence is of key importance to the Israeli company, as it shortens its route to clinics and hospitals.

In Israel, the ingestible camera is used in most hospitals. The army recently also approved use of the device for soldiers.

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