Surgical devices maker Cardica Inc (CRDC) posted third-quarter fiscal 2011 (ended March 31) net loss per share of 14 cents, higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 11 cents and the year-ago quarter’s loss of 12 cents. The California-based company’s net loss widened roughly 20% year over year to $3.6 million due to the combined effect of higher costs and lower sales.

Revenues fell 2.6% year over year to $0.95 million, below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1 million, impacted by lower product sales, which slid roughly 11.3% year over year to $0.85 million. Product sales were, in part, hurt by some changes in the distribution network.

Consolidated operating costs and expenses rose 15.2% year over year to $4.5 million as a decline in cost of product sales (down 44%) was more than offset by higher R&D (up 73.5%) and selling, general and administrative (up 3%) expenses. The higher R&D expenses are attributable to the company’s ongoing development of its endoscopic staplers. 

The company exited the quarter with cash and cash equivalent of roughly $11.2 million, a 20.4% year over year increase, with no debt.  

Cardica manufactures stapling devices for endoscopic and cardiac surgery procedures. Its proprietary technology is designed to reduce operating time and enable minimally-invasive and robot-assisted surgeries. The company markets its automated anastomosis systems for coronary artery bypass graft (“CABG”) surgery and has sold over 34,500 units globally.

Cardica is developing the Microcutter line of novel endoscopic stapling devices for use in a variety of surgeries that require cutting and stapling. The company, in March 2011, received European CE Mark for its initial Microcutter device.

The first product in the Microcutter family which Cardica intends to market is the Microcutter XPRESS 30. The company is likely to conduct a partial release of the device in the U.S. in mid-2011, contingent upon the 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).

Cardica recently secured a key patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its proprietary Microcutter technology. This represents the first patent that relates to the articulation of the company’s Microcutter device.

Cardica entered into a licensing pact with Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) in August 2010, under which, the latter obtained the exclusive global license to Cardica’s intellectual property, related to tissue cutting, stapling and clip appliers for application in the robotics field. Cardica booked license and development revenues of $0.84 million in the third quarter in connection with this agreement.

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