Shares of Glaukos Corporation (NYSE: GKOS), a mid-cap ophthalmic medical technology and pharmaceutical company, spiked by as much as 63.7% today on heavy volume.
The spark? Glaukos shares are rising in response to the news that Novartis (NYSE: NVS) will voluntarily remove its rival CyPass Micro-Stent product from the market due to a lack of efficacy. The CyPass Micro-Stent device was approved as a tool to lower intraocular pressure during cataract surgery in adult patients with mild-to-moderate primary open-angle glaucoma.
According to the press release, a five-year long safety study revealed that patients receiving the CyPass Micro-Stent implantation "experienced statistically significant endothelial cell loss compared to the group who underwent cataract surgery alone." In other words, the device simply doesn't work as advertised -- leading Novartis to advise surgeons to immediately cease further procedures.
Since its red-hot opening, Glaukos' shares have cooled off a bit, but remain up by a healthy 33.9% as of 12:00 p.m. EDT.
This news means that Glaukos' iStent Micro-Bypass franchise now will face considerably less competition moving forward. As such, the company's key product group could end up eventually topping Wall Streets' former peak sales estimate of $1 billion, and perhaps by a wide margin.
With Novartis' Cypass Micro-Stent sidelined, Glaukos' top line appears set to heat up in a big way. Interestingly enough, though, this medical-device stock was arguably already undervalued prior to today's positive news. Glaukos' shares, after all, were trading at less than two times iStent's peak sales forecast, which is a rock-bottom valuation for a medical-device company. Therefore, bargain hunters may want to take advantage of this news by grabbing some shares today.
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