A Healthy Foursome

03/04/2005 12:00 am EST


James Oberweis

President, Oberweis Asset Management, Inc.

For the four-years ending January 31, 2005, the NASDAQ lost 24%, while the Oberweis Micro-Cap Portfolio rose 67%. Jim Oberweis , who was bearish at the start of the year, now sees "above-average returns over the months to come." Here, he offers four healthcare favorites.

"DATATRAK International (DATA NASDAQ) is a worldwide leader in the clinical trial data management industry, providing software products to the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries. Its software delivers clinical research data from investigative sites to sponsors faster and more efficiently than traditional manual methods, resulting in reduced clinical trial duration and data input errors. Its products have been utilized in some aspect of the clinical development of 14 separate drugs that have received regulatory approval from either the FDA or counterpart European bodies. This industry is in the early stage of development and is expected to grow substantially over the next several years. In the latest reported fourth quarter, the company reported a revenue increase of 74% to $3.4 million, while earnings per share grew to $.06 from a loss in the prior year fourth quarter.

"HealthGrades (HGRD OTC BB) provides proprietary, objective healthcare provider ratings and quality improvement consulting services that assist in potentially lowering healthcare costs by allowing clients to measure and assess healthcare quality. Clients include hospitals, benefit consulting firms, payers, insurance companies, employers and consumers. The company also offers hospitals the opportunity to license HealthGrades’ ratings and trademarks and provide assistance in their marketing programs. In the company’s latest fourth quarter, sales increased approximately 49.8% to $4.1 million. Earnings per share grew to $.02 per diluted share versus a loss in the same year-ago period. Clients of Oberweis Asset Management own approximately 545,000 shares. These shares may be appropriate for risk oriented investors

"LCA Vision (LCAV NASDAQ) is a leading provider of laser vision correction services under the LasikPlus brand. The company owns and operates 41 laser vision correction centers in the US and three centers (joint ventures) in Canada. The company plans to open between ten-12 additional facilities in 2005. In the fourth quarter of 2004, the company reported that same-store sales (facilities open at least 12 months) increased about 35%. LCA Vision has performed over 400,000 corrective procedures since laser vision correction surgery was approved by the FDA in 1995. In its latest reported fourth quarter, sales increased 58% to $33 million. LCA Vision reported earnings per share of $.23 versus $.12 in the same quarter of last year. Clients of Oberweis Asset Management own approximately 916,000 shares. These shares may be appropriate for risk oriented investors.

"QMed (QMED NASDAQ) is an interactive disease management company that synchronizes the latest scientific evidence to ensure that the right care is received by patients at all times. Its software assists in improving clinical outcomes for individuals, decision support for physicians, and reduction in costs, with a focus on cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In addition, QMed provides patient education and wellness information specific to each patient’s needs. Qmed has been selected to participate in two Medicare demonstrations. In the latest fourth quarter, sales rose 74% to $4.8 million and earnings per share grew to $.08 per share versus a loss in the same year-ago period. Clients of Oberweis Asset Management own approximately 160,000 shares. These shares may be appropriate for risk oriented investors."

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