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Edwards shares up on injunction against Medtronic heart valve

By Susan Kelly

(Reuters) - Shares of Edwards Lifesciences Corp jumped 13 percent on Monday after a U.S. court temporarily halted sales of competitor Medtronic Inc's heart valve implant that uses a less-invasive procedure to spare patients from open-heart surgery.

The ruling, by a U.S. District Court in Delaware on Friday, came after earlier court decisions that found Medtronic's CoreValve infringed on Edwards' Sapien transcatheter valve product.

The court agreed to postpone implementation of the ruling for seven days to allow Medtronic to appeal.

Medtronic on Monday said it filed a motion in appeals court seeking an emergency stay of the preliminary injunction.

The lower court on Friday ordered both companies to come to an agreement that would help physicians at facilities currently trained to use the CoreValve system to a make a clinical judgment as to which device to implant.

Analysts said the ruling came as a surprise and that the court would still have to weigh the injunction against the public interest.

"How does a judge take a product off the market that has shown an ability to reduce mortality," J.P. Morgan analysts wrote in a note to clients.

Medtronic, in its motion on Monday, said if the injunction were permitted to go into effect, "treatable patients may unnecessarily die in the name of already expired patent rights."

Medtronic's CoreValve system for replacing diseased aortic heart valves led to a significantly higher survival rate after one year than traditional open heart surgery in patients deemed at high risk of death during surgery, according to data the company presented at a conference in March.

CoreValve won U.S. approval in January to treat patients too frail to endure open heart surgery, becoming the first such device to compete against Edwards' Sapien valve in the United States.

Edwards said it has petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to extend its patent on Sapien, known as the Anderson patient, to early 2016.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Jason Mills said he believes Edwards is likely to accept either a lump-sum award for damages from Medtronic or continuing royalties.

"While we believe Edwards has a better chance than we previously thought of being granted a permanent injunction against Medtronic, we still expect Edwards to ultimately cash in via other forms of equitable relief in lieu of a final injunction," Mills said.

Edwards shares pared gains but were up at $81.62 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, while Medtronic shares fell 2 percent to $58.01.

(Reporting by Susan Kelly in Chicago and Sweta Singh; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Bernard Orr)

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