Edwards Lifesciences Earnings Call Insights: Stocking Numbers and PARTNER II

Edwards Lifesciences Corporation (NYSE:EW) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Stocking Numbers

Larry Biegelsen – Wells Fargo: Okay, let me start with the question on the U.S. launch. $16 million in stocking in Q4, Mike on the last call you said you expected a few million dollars in stocking. So, am I thinking about this right, if you had come in that stock just a few million dollars, you would have fallen below the 230 to 240 in your U.S. SAPIEN guidance. Is that fair or am I doing the math right and maybe you can talk a little bit about the difference in the stocking versus your expectations?

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Michael A. Mussallem – Chairman and CEO: Yes, the stocking fairly was more than we expected Larry, and I think we thought it was going to be a lower number, and so you are right, there is a real impact here that the $16 million of stocking lifted us, but I think you need to look at a little bit of a broader picture here. There was such a rush for – to be trained on transapical that. We trained an awful lot of accounts more than we expected to train in the quarter and with that came the stocking orders. At the same time, there was a pretty tremendous queue of transapical patients that had been collected by hospitals and these are patients that could not have been treated with the transfemoral system and particularly here with the SAPIEN valve and its large delivery profile, it probably exasperated that number. And so what we believe happened here is kind of triaging effect where there was a real rush to be able to treat these transapical patients and part of that drove more training more transapical training than we anticipated and probably held down some of the transfemoral numbers in the quarter. We heard at least anecdotally that the number of our accounts, for example, when we had one day a week that were dedicated to the TAVR procedure and so those for the fourth quarter in many cases were exclusively transapical procedures. Hopefully that helps.

Larry Biegelsen – Wells Fargo: That helps. And let me use my second question on PARTNER IIb at ACC, maybe if you can talk about your expectations a little bit based on maybe some of the registry data we’ve seen from Europe. Will we see any of the nested registries also at ACC and just lastly do you expect a panel for XT?