Edwards rides Sapien sales to big Q4

Edwards Lifesciences posted a 72.8% increase in valve sales thanks to the Sapien--courtesy of Edwards

Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) is reaping the benefits of the FDA's October decision to expand the indication of its Sapien heart valve, and the devicemaker posted an 18.7% sales increase in the fourth quarter thanks to the tech's success.

On the quarter, Edwards pulled in $510.5 million in revenue and $91.1 million in net profit, a 30.8% leap over the same period in 2011. And that's largely thanks to Sapien: Transcatheter heart valve sales skyrocketed 72.8% to $161 million on the quarter, and U.S. revenue from the newly expanded device accounted for more than half of that sum.

Despite a difficult economic environment, Sapien's sales proved the device both effective and necessary, CEO Michael Mussallem said. "We are very proud that more than 5,000 patients in the U.S. have been treated with our transcatheter valves since launch, and we are aggressively investing to expand the availability of this important therapy," Mussallem said in a statement.

And Edwards hardly expects Sapien to slow down. Mussallem said the company projects valve sales to increase between 30% and 45% in 2013, resulting in global revenue of $710 million to $790 million for the unit. As for the whole operation, Edwards expects annual revenue between $2.1 billion and $2.2 billion, an increase of up to 15.6%.

- check out Edwards' results