Abbott wins FDA nod for glucose monitor

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) picked up FDA clearance to market the FreeStyle Precision Pro, an inpatient blood glucose monitor the company said can stream test results in real time.

The device keeps tabs on blood sugar and beta-ketone levels at hospital bedsides, and it's the only technology of its kind to use individually foil-wrapped test strips, drastically cutting the risk of cross-contamination, Abbott said. The device is outfitted with wireless connectivity, sending test data straight from a handheld monitor to hospital staff. 

"The FreeStyle Precision Pro system represents a significant step forward as we work to provide tools to improve the way hospitals manage patients' glucose levels," Abbott Diabetes Care Senior Vice President Heather Mason said in a statement.

And any step forward would be a benefit for Abbott's slumping medical device business. Last quarter, the company's diabetes device revenue slid 1.3% to $326 million, dragged down by pricing and reimbursement pressures in the U.S. However, Abbott has seen a strong uptick for its FreeStyle InsuLinx meter in emerging markets, the company said, and it's still doing well with hospital-based technologies like the FreeStyle Precision Pro.

But diabetes tech wasn't the biggest contributor to Abbott's 1.6% Q2 slump in medical devices. The company's vascular business is still enduring a decline in demand for stents, dropping 2% to $750 million on the quarter. Medical optics, which includes intraocular lenses and eye surgery devices, fell 1.2% to $280 million.

- read Abbott's announcement