Despite slump and worry, St. Jude bullish about 2013

St. Jude Medical CEO Dan Starks said the company is confident it can turn things around in 2013--courtesy of St. Jude

St. Jude Medical ($STJ) isn't letting regulatory scrutiny and analyst woes dim its outlook, projecting revenue growth for 2013 after a rocky fourth quarter and flat 2012.

The devicemaker figures it will make between $3.68 to $3.73 per share this year, a huge boost over 2012's $2.39.

But in Q4, when rumors of problems with Durata leads reached a fever pitch, St. Jude didn't make up any ground. Net sales lagged 2.5% from the same period in 2011, coming in at $1.4 billion, and net income dipped 4% to $120 million, due in part to charges of $113 million related to the company's ongoing restructuring.

And what of Durata and the rumors that it'll get yanked off the market like its predecessor? CEO Dan Starks, as quoted by MedCity News, said St. Jude remains confident in its leads, pointing again to data pegging the devices' 5-year survival rate at 98.7%.

"All along here, with respect to Durata, the facts have been very friendly to us," Starks told investors today.

That all depends on whose facts you're using, of course. Last week, the FDA slapped St. Jude with a warning letter over the plant where Durata is produced, and the company is facing a shareholder lawsuit claiming it willfully withheld the details of the agency's action for at least a month.

And then there's the recent study, sponsored by Medtronic ($MDT), finding that Durata's polymer insulation--the fix that sets it apart from the now-recalled Riata--could break up in the body within 6 years. As Starks noted, St. Jude has third-party-verified data saying otherwise, but the ongoing concern is enough for a few analysts to predict that Durata will be recalled some time this year.

- read St. Jude's results
- check out the MedCity News story