Medtronic's spinal tools launch; Endurant stent excels

Medtronic ($MDT) is heralding some hopeful news this week from its spinal and stent business lines.

We'll start with its spinal segment. The Minnesota device giant said it was rolling out its Powerease system, which is designed to drill, tap and drive special implants during surgery. Medtronic's spinal and surgical technologies units collaborated on the project. (A big benefit: the company claims the system helps reduce surgeon fatigue related to repetitive hand motion.)

The news offers an encouraging development for Medtronic's beleaguered spine unit, which has been rumored to be up for sale as a result of poor financial performance and ongoing legal problems. For example, the company last month agreed to settle an $85 million shareholder class action lawsuit concerning allegations of safety problems involving its Infuse bone graft material.

Medtronic reported fiscal 2012 third quarter spinal revenue of $784 million, a 9% decline.

Separately, the company is touting positive two-year data for its Endurant abdominal aortic aneurysm stent, which gained U.S. approval more than a year ago. Medtronic presented data at this year's Charing Cross International Symposium in London, showing the stent graft performed just as well at two years as it did in the initial 12 months, without any reported aneurysm-related mortalities, migrations or conversions. Researchers followed up with patients from the company's initial IDE study, which enrolled 150 people at 26 centers.

- here's the Powerease news
- read the Endurant release