Despite pressure on several fronts, medical device maker Boston Scientific reported quarterly results that were above market expectations on Wednesday, lifting the stock 5%, to $40.09.
Boston Scientific, which employs about 8,000 people in Maple Grove, Arden Hills and Minnetonka, saw organic revenue climb more than 9% compared to the same quarter last year, to $2.7 billion. Earnings of 39 cents per share beat the Wall Street consensus forecast by a penny, climbing more than 11% compared with last year.
"Boston Scientific delivered a very strong third quarter," Chief Executive Mike Mahoney told investors in Wednesday's quarterly earnings call. "We continue to grow above-market and improve profitability while also investing in the long term to deliver meaningful innovation to address unmet patient needs."
Executives with the Massachusetts-based company said they partly relied on the company's diversified offerings like devices to repair blood vessels, prevent strokes and treat cancers to deliver the better-than-expected growth.
The company launched its minimally invasive Lotus Edge aortic heart valve in May after years of delay, and it continues to see strong adoption of novel anti-stroke products, like its Watchman left-atrial heart plug and Sentinel vascular safety net.
But challenges loom. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration told doctors that devices coated with the drug paclitaxel and used in the legs appear to be linked to a higher risk of death five years after implant.
That has dampened sales for Boston Scientific's new and highly anticipated Eluvia stent, even though the FDA review didn't include data on the Eluvia. Company officials in Maple Grove confirmed this week that they still expect to get Food and Drug Administration approval next year for a related product, the paclitaxel-containing Ranger drug-coated balloon.
Executives on Wednesday still couldn't explain an ongoing industrywide decline in sales growth of spinal-cord stimulation devices to treat pain. Mahoney said the company is only projecting mid-single-digit percentage growth in the near term.
And facing questions about how to deal with negative early clinical trial results for the Acurate Neo aortic valve, company officials emphasized the growth of their other minimally invasive aortic valve, the Lotus Edge.
But much of the investor concern centered on coronary stents used to alleviate chest pain in people in stable health. Sales of heart stents for these patients are widely expected to take a hit this year, when the long-awaited results of the ischemia trial are published next month.
A poll of about 300 physicians published this week on the American College of Cardiology website found just over half of doctors believe the trial will show no benefit compared with patients who were randomized to optimal medical therapy without a stent.
On Wednesday, Mahoney said the study results could trigger anything from a $40 million revenue loss to a potential sales increase for Boston Scientific, depending on how physicians interpret the results.
All told, Boston Scientific reported net income of $550 million on $2.7 billion in revenue in the third quarter.
That 13% revenue growth, as reported, drops to 9% organic growth after subtracting for the effects of newly acquired businesses, including the $4.3 billion acquisition of cancer-therapy company BTG, and smaller deals like Maple Grove's NxThera.
The medical-surgical division, which includes sales of scopes to peer deep inside the body, grew the fastest, at 13%. Cardiovascular division sales of devices like the Watchman grew 11%, while heart-rhythm and neuromodulation device sales grew 5%.
Boston Scientific narrowed its guidance range for 2019 full-year organic revenue growth to 7.5% and adjusted diluted earnings per share to a range of $1.55 to $1.58, shaving a penny off the lower end of the estimate.