The past week has seen a slew of Q2 earnings reports from medical device companies — and the picture overall hasn’t been pretty amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, medtech CEOs during their earnings calls said they’re starting to see some signs of hospital procedures recovering a bit even as the southern U.S. deals with a coronavirus wave. Some of the top MassDevice stories this week actually involved companies providing more solutions to improve management of the pandemic.
Want to hear more about the week’s top news? Executive editor Chris Newmarker and Tom Salemi will discuss during our DeviceTalks Weekly podcast. Without further ado, here’s this week’s MassDevice Top Five:
5. A few bright spots amid the COVID-19 financial toll
Dexcom (NSDQ:DXCM) proved to be one of the few bright spots among medtech Q2 earnings reports, blowing away the Wall Street consensus forecast as it successfully pivoted to making its continuous glucose monitors available to U.S. hospitals during the crisis. The move helped boost Dexcom sales up by more than a third.
Among other top medical device companies, some managed to perform better than expectations on The Street, but the Q2 year-over-year sales declines were still tough: a better-than-expected –24.3% for Stryker (NYSE:SYK), a better-than-expected –23.9% for Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX), a worse-than-expected –4.1% for Baxter (NYSE:BAX), a better-than-expected –13.1% for Teleflex (NYSE:TFX), a worse-than-expected nearly –30% for Smith+Nephew (LON:SN), and a -21% for GE Healthcare amid mixed-bag results for all of General Electric (NYSE:GE).
4. Innovation continues at Smith+Nephew
The orthopedic device space has been especially hard-hit by COVID-19. But count Smith+Nephew (NYSE:SNN) among the companies continuing to launch new products. The British medtech giant this week launched its RI Hip Navigation system for total hip arthroplasty. The technology is designed to maximize accuracy and reproducibility to deliver patient-specific component alignment for surgeons when assessing individual total hip arthroplasty cases. The news comes about two weeks after the company announced the launch of its next-gen Cori surgical system — a handheld robotics platform available for knee surgeries.
3. More digital health support for people with kidney failure
Baxter and Ayogo Health are expanding their partnership to support people with kidney disease. The partnership between Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter and Vancouver, B.C.-based Ayogo will combine the latter’s LifePlan behavior-based digital platform with Baxter’s renal care expertise to build mobile apps and digital solutions to support kidney failure patients. “This is particularly important in the midst of the [COVID-19] pandemic, when it is critical to support patients with digital health tools that empower them to perform dialysis in the safety of their home, while staying connected with their healthcare team,” said Baxter renal care business GM Laura Angelini.
2. Aetna accuses Conformis of trying to use patient’s lawsuit to compel coverage
Joint replacement implant maker Conformis (NSDQ:CFMS) is improperly using a Colorado man’s denial of benefits lawsuit to force Aetna to cover its customized knee implants, the health insurer recently argued in a federal court filing. Billerica, Mass.-based Conformis joined John Michael Schaub of Golden, Colo., in his lawsuit against Aetna, filed in May in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. The lawsuit, according to Aetna’s lawyers, turns the federal Employee Retirement and Income Security Act on its head.
1. Improving the COVID-19 testing situation
It would probably be an understatement to say that the U.S. has faced challenges when it comes to coronavirus testing — with a new Vanity Fair expose raising even more questions. Some of the most-read stories on MassDevice this week involve efforts to improve the situation.
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Defense Dept. (DoD), for example, announced a $7.6 million contract for COVID-19 testing from Hologic.
Meanwhile, Sorrento Therapeutics (NSDQ:SRNE) entered into a licensing agreement with Columbia University for its COVID-19 saliva diagnostic test. The rapid, one-step diagnostic test is designed to detect SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing coronavirus) in as little as 30 minutes from a sample of saliva. Developed by a team at Columbia, the test will be marketed by San Diego–based Sorrento under the name “Covi-Trace.” It holds all testing materials in a single tube and requires no specialized laboratory equipment, making it deployable for point-of-care, on-site or potentially at-home testing. Sorrento plans to move rapidly to submit an emergency use authorization request to the FDA and prepare for full-scale production.