NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of Cardica Inc. fell in premarket trading Friday after the surgical systems maker reported fiscal fourth-quarter revenue below Wall Street forecasts. Shares slid 27 cents, or 12.7 percent, to $1.85 ahead of market open. The stock has ranged from $1.03 to $11.13 over the past year. On Thursday, Cardica said its fiscal fourth-quarter loss narrowed on lower research and development expenses. Although earnings per share beat Wall Street's forecast, revenue of $2 million missed the average estimate of $2.9 million among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Cardica said sales of its anastomosis systems, which automate the attachment of blood vessels and grafts during heart bypass surgeries, were slower than expected in the quarter. As a result, it cut costs and in January eliminated 13 jobs. Cardica also said it cannot give product revenue guidance for fiscal 2010 because it is changing its cardiac surgery business to a direct sales force, which will be supported by distributors and representatives of manufacturers. Lazard Capital Markets analyst Dr. Sean Lavin reaffirmed a "Hold" rating on the stock.
"We continue to like Cardica's technology, and believe that its use in TECAB represents a disruptive, paradigm shifting technology," he said, in a note to investors. TECAB refers to a type of heart bypass surgery. "However, the sales force reduction and use of an alternative sales model does not brighten our perception for an increasing sales ramp in fiscal 2010," he said. "We believe the company missed its window of opportunity to exploit the technology, and we struggle to see the way forward under this model."