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MEDICAL : Trimedyne Stock Tumbles in Wake of Report on Problems in Laser Surgery

June 23, 1989|John Charles Tighe, Times staff writer

Trimedyne Inc.'s stock has lost a quarter of its value this month, a decline the company blames partly on a recent study of laser treatments. Tustin-based Trimedyne makes lasers and laser catheters used in nonsurgical removal of blood vessel blockages.

Dr. Martin E. Harrington told a conference of vascular surgeons in New York Tuesday that use of laser catheter treatment in a laboratory, rather than an operating room, can lead to complications. Harrington also told the doctors that laser technology has room for improvement, Trimedyne said.

Following the presentation, Trimedyne stock lost 12% of its value Tuesday, closing down $1.25 per share to $9.50, with nearly 500,000 shares changing hands on the over-the-counter market.

On Wednesday, Trimedyne sought to reassure investors by announcing that most of its treatments are performed in surgical settings, not in labs, and that more than 25,000 vascular procedures have been successfully performed using the company's technology.

Trimedyne's stock gained 62.5 cents per share Thursday, closing at $10.25 per share. That price is still well off its price of $13.875 at the start of the month.

Although the study was discussed for the first time this week, Trimedyne spokeswoman Jo-Ann Horne said the company's stock began to slide early in the month partly because of speculation over the report's contents.

Horne also said the stock lost value because of the resignation of Executive Vice President Rick Randall. Randall's resignation was announced last week, but the company said Wall Street investors were aware earlier in the month of his departure for a job at a Northern California laser maker.

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