Abbott launches dissolving stent abroad

Abbott's new Absorb device is a drug-eluting vascular scaffold that dissolves in the body after about two years--courtesy of Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) touts its Absorb drug-eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffold is safer and more effective than metallic stents, and the company has begun shipping the device in Europe and parts of the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.

The first-of-its-kind tech works much like a common vascular stent at first, restoring blood flow to a clogged vessel and administering the drug everolimus. However, Absorb is made of polylactide, a common material in dissolving sutures, allowing it be resorbed by the body over time, leaving behind a treated vessel free to move, flex, pulsate and dilate, Abbott says.

The commercial launch abroad follows 5 studies in more than 20 countries in which Absorb was found to perform just as well as best-in-class drug-eluting stents, Abbott says. "We are proud to be the first company to commercialize a drug eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffold, which has the potential to revolutionize the way physicians treat their patients with coronary artery disease," John Capek, Abbott's executive VP for devices, said in a statement.

Abbott is now moving at full speed to sell Absorb overseas, and, according to recent analysis, the company stands to rake in big profits in Europe. According to Millennium Research Group, the European market for vascular stents will drop 3.5% a year going forward, but dissolvable devices like Absorb are likely to grow in popularity.

- read Abbott's release