Home dialysis machine market heats up with Fresenius’ entry

Renal therapy giant Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. looks to knock off NxStage Medical Inc. with the launch of the 2008K@home dialysis machine for patients with kidney failure.

Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. (NYSE:FMS) is getting into the home dialysis game with the release of a more portable version of its in-center 2008-series hemodialysis machines for patients with acute kidney failure.

Fresenius, the world’s largest dialysis maker said that it received Food & Drug Administration clearance for its 2008K@home dialysis machine and will have it on the market during the early summer, according to a prepared statement.

Fresenius’ move into the home game puts the Waltham, Mass.-based company in direct competition with its neighbor 30 miles to the north, NxStage Medical Inc. (NSDQ:NXTM) , which makes portable dialysis machines.


Lerrink Swann analyst Danielle Antalffy, who covers NxStage for the investment bank, called the move “clearly a negative headline” for the company in an email for investors. However, she pointed out that the 2008k @home was “large, not truly portable, and requires significant plumbing/electrical alterations in the patient’s home.”

“Because of this, our industry checks out of Annual Dialysis Conference (ADC) suggest that NXTM’s System One maintains a significant competitive advantage given System One’s small size, portability, and lack of cumbersome plumbing/electrical requirements,” she wrote.

Furthermore, Fresenius could actually help raise awareness for NxStage, which posted a 21 percent increase in its top line during 2010, according to Antalffy.

Last week, the company said it narrowed losses in 2010 to $26 million on $179 million in sales, compared to a $36 million loss on $149 million in revenues during 2009. The bulk of the top line growth came from robust sales in its home dialysis machines, which jumped 35 percent during the year.

However, The Street doesn’t seem to share Antalffy’s confidence, as shares of NXTM fell more than 10 percent by the early afternoon to $20.25, down $2.33 from Friday’s closing price of $22.58.

In other news, NxStage touted the results of an independent study that showed its home dialysis machines were more eco-friendly than their in-center counterparts. The report, published in the January issue of Hemodialysis International, said that the company’s System One home dialysis machines had a 50 percent smaller carbon footprint when compared to traditional in-center hemodialysis machines.

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