Paced by strong international growth, coronary stent sales for Abbott (NYSE:ABT) rose 13 percent during the first three months of 2010, to $455 million.
The Abbott Park, Ill.-based medical products conglomerate also enjoyed large gains in its core laboratory and molecular diagnostics segments, helping offset little or no sales gains for its diabetes care and medical optics lines. Together, medical device and diagnostic equipment sales generated $2.3 billion, up 14.5 percent over year-ago levels and contributing roughly 30 percent of the company’s $7.7 billion in total sales during the quarter ended March 31.
Global sales of vascular products increased 15.8 percent to $747 million, aided by a 3.2-percent boost due to favorable currency exchange rates. Sales outside the U.S. were particularly strong, rising 33.1 percent to $333 million, and Abbott officials claimed that the company’s Xience drug-eluting stent is now the world’s best seller after picking up new regulatory approvals during the quarter in Japan and Europe.
Abbott management also continued to tout clinical results supporting its MitraClip system to repair valves inside the heart that keep blood from flowing backward. Data presented last month at the yearly scientific conference of the American College of Cardiology found the minimally invasive procedure met primary safety and effectiveness goals, suggesting it eventually may be a viable alternative for the estimated eight million people in the U.S. and Europe suffering from significant mitral regurgitation.
Officials likewise said the double-digit growth in the diagnostics segment reflected continued gains worldwide for Abbott’s molecular and point-of-care diagnostics businesses, as well as a 12 percent rise in international sales of its core laboratory diagnostic tools. Total sales of diagnostic equipment were $915 million, up 15.8 percent during the first quarter over the same period in 2009.