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Breast Implant Maker Inamed's Shares Soar

October 17, 2003|Karen Robinson-Jacobs | Times Staff Writer

Shares of Santa Barbara-based Inamed Corp. shot up 23% on Thursday to a record high after a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended that the company's silicone gel breast implants be approved for sale to all women.

Late Wednesday, the FDA panel voted 9 to 6 to recommend, with some conditions, an end to restrictions on sales of the company's implants.

In 1992, the use of silicone implants was restricted to breast cancer survivors and other women willing to participate in closely supervised clinical trials.

The restrictions were imposed after women complained of ailments they said were linked to leaky implants.

If the FDA approves the silicone implants, they would be used by women seeking breast augmentation surgery. Silicone implants generally are considered to look more natural than saline-filled implants.

The news helped Inamed shares hit a high of $84.63 on Thursday before closing at $84.31, up $15.57, on Nasdaq.

Removing the restrictions could help the U.S. market for breast implants grow from $240 million in 2002 to $494 million in 2006, said Jayson T. Bedford, a medical devices analyst with Adams, Harkness & Hill.

"And $387 million of that would be breast augmentation, and the bulk of that would be silicone," Bedford said. "This potentially opens up a huge market ... for the company."

If the FDA's approval comes early next year, Inamed would have a six-to-nine-month head start over rival Mentor Corp. of Santa Barbara, said Ryan Rauch, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Mentor is expected to submit its FDA application this year for its own silicone implants.

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