Q3 Impella sales help Abiomed close in on the black

Abiomed Inc. (NSDQ:ABMD) continued its ride toward profitability on the back of its Impella cardiac assist device, paring its third-quarter net loss by more than 40 percent and posting a 32 percent increase in total sales.

The Danvers, Mass.-based company reported net losses of $4.6 million, or 12 cents per share, on revenues of $22.8 million during the three months ended Dec. 31, 2009, compared with net losses of $7.7 million, or 21 cents per share, on revenues of $17.3 million during Q3 2009.

The Impella device, a tiny pump threaded into the heart via catheter to assist it during cardiac procedures, once again drove the strong results for Abiomed. Since the third quarter last year, total worldwide sales of the device have grown 81 percent to $15.9 million. U.S. sales of the device have surged 116 percent to $14.5 million since Q3 2009; more than half of that, or $8.2 million, came from repeat customers.

Non-Impella revenues amounted to $6.9 million during the quarter, down 18 percent compared with the same period last year. Abiomed burned through only $600,000 during the quarter, leaving cash and securities worth $51.7 million as of Dec. 31.

Chairman, president and CEO Michael Minogue said most of its Impella 2.5 customers had received a new setup kit, designed to cut setup times from about 15 minutes to about 2 minutes. That, Minogue said, "positions us well for urgent and emergent patient situations."

Abiomed scaled back its full-year guidance as it readies to concentrate on "existing site Impella utilization and training rather than on new Impella site openings and the legacy business." Sales for fiscal 2010 are expected to be between $84 million and $86 million, not the $86 million to $91 million previously predicted. Impella revenues are expected to rise 50 percent to 60 percent, or $55 million to $58 million.

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