Edwards plunges on the Street as sales come up short

Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) endured its biggest single-day Wall Street slide in 12 years after its third-quarter sales numbers came in well below expectations.

As of 11 a.m., Edwards had dropped 18% to $88.07, its worst one-day drop since 2000, Bloomberg reports. The company reported quarterly sales of $448 million, coming up short of its projected range of $465 million to $485 million. Edwards won't announce its full third-quarter results until Oct. 19, but the company attributes the decline to flagging transcatheter heart valve sales, blaming European austerity measures and a hiccup in reimbursement in the U.S.

However, as a JPMorgan Chase analyst tells Bloomberg, Boston Scientific ($BSX) and St. Jude Medical ($STJ) are soon to release their own minimally invasive transcatheter valves, meaning Edwards doesn't have a lot of time to make up for lost sales of its Sapien device. "At this point, it's hard to see what turns this trend around," analyst Michael Weinstein said. "The competitive landscape will only get tougher over the next 6 to 12 months."

Edwards isn't counting itself out, though. Despite the Q3 lag, the company expects an expanded FDA indication for Sapien to be approved this quarter, giving it a larger patient population. Edwards has projected full-year valve sales at between $500 million and $600 million, and the company says it is still on track to meet the low end of that goal.

- read Edwards' statement
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