“Intravenous Ultrasound — Once in a Generation Opportunity”

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, July 12, 2007

Here’s one that was sent in by a reader a little while ago — it’s for Mark Skousen’s Forecasts & Strategies, which we’ve seen before a few times (the last pick we sleuthed out, China Medical, did pretty well for him).

And this is another medical technology stock, so perhaps it warrants some attention.

The stock Skousen is talking about here is a company involved in Intravenous Ultrasound (IVUS), which is just what it sounds like — ultrasound that can examine the veins, the same way that standard ultrasounds might snoop out cancer or embryos or what have you.

And he’s pretty excited about this one: “Every one of these factors are present with my newest medical technology recommendation. The technology, the FDA approval, the patents, the patients… and the profits, are all on board. As you’ll see, you now have the potential to earn four times your investment over the next nine months.”

So, this is for a tiny little ultrasound thingy that goes into a catheter that’s piped into your artery, and they use that to get high resolution images of what’s inside there — which means they can tell where the plaque or other disease is, and, I guess, what kind it is.

Skousen compares it to Fantastic Voyage, that movie where they explored the bloodstream. I guess for my generation, the corollary is the Martin Short/Dennis Quaid/Meg Ryan flick Innerspace, now relegated to the back pages of IMDB.

But I digress.

Skousen says that this company’s intellectual property is protected by “a rock-solid portfolio of patents that, as of the beginning of 2007, numbered 184 owned or licensed U.S. and international patents.”

So, kind of a unique technology — shouldn’t be that hard to find, eh?

Well, an intrepid reader did just that — and thanks to him (and some folks at the forums doing similar work), we know that this company is …

Volcano Corporation (VOLC)

Before we go any further — does anyone want something in their veins that’s from a company named after a dramatic, violent and super-hot eruption? Thankfully, they’ve given their actual products much friendlier names like “Visions” and “Eagle Eye.”

But anyway, this was sent in by a reader and mostly what I’ve done is just confirm that he was right. The reader cautions that this particular tool is not covered by insurance yet and is pretty pricey at $700, so that may be something for you to investigate if you’re interested. Certainly, my experience with Intuitive Surgical, the only medical technology stock I personally own, has taught me that insurance and medicare coverage is to medical technologies as FDA approval is to drugs — without it, it’s certainly hard to make any money.

So, you can keep that in mind for your next SAT analogies test. If they even still do that.

But if you want to say something about Volcano, feel free to erupt right here — or over at the forum, where there has already been some chatter about this one. I’ll wish you steady ground below your feet, and clear skies.

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