Abbott posts med tech growth thanks to diagnostics, dealmaking

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) is still fleshing out its identity nearly a year removed from the drug development game, and now, thanks to some timely M&A and a focus on diagnostics, the Illinois conglomerate is charging forward in med tech.

On the devices side, Abbott is finally moving the needle on some of its long-stagnant businesses with the aid of acquisitions and approvals. Total device sales came in at $1.3 billion in the third quarter, a 1.9% increase over the same period last year, and while Abbott's headlining vascular arm stayed about flat at $747 million, the company's recent dive into ophthalmology has paid dividends. Abbott's medical optics unit leapt 7.3% to $276 million on the quarter, reflecting regulatory wins for some of the company's intraocular lenses and early returns from its up to $400 million deal for OptiMedica, which closed in August.

Continuing a years-long trend, Abbott's testing business grew 8% to $1.1 billion, fueled by a 6.3% jump in its banner core lab unit and a 15% leap in its small but fast-growing molecular arm. Abbott credits its strong quarter to an expanded presence in emerging markets, an increase in demand for its analysis platforms and an amped-up focus on companion diagnostics.

And while stents and scaffolds continued their sales slump, slipping 3.2% to $1.2 billion, Abbott remains confident in its vascular future. Absorb, the company's dissolvable scaffold, is already a hit overseas, and Abbott is in the midst of an FDA-targeted trial for the novel device. In August, the company shelled out $310 million for IDEV Technologies and its biomimetic stent to treat peripheral artery disease, and Abbott is rolling out the next-generation Xience Xpedition around the globe.

On the whole, Abbott reported $5.4 billion in net sales on the quarter, a 2% increase, and raked in $773 million in net profit, more than double what it made in the same period last year.

- check out Abbott's full results

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