Investors elated over HeartWare's stellar Q3 heart pump sales

HeartWare rode strong sales of its Ventricular Assist System to another strong sales quarter.--Courtesy of HeartWare

It's been almost a year now since HeartWare International ($HTWR) won FDA approval for its game-changing Ventricular Assist System, and the milestone has led to a surge in revenue ever since. The trend continued in earnest during the 2013 third quarter.

Investors embraced the results and drove HeartWare's stock up almost 15% early on Nov. 7, with the price hovering around $85.

HeartWare produced $54.8 million in revenue during Q3, up 140% from just under $23 million in revenue pulled in over the same period a year ago. The Framingham, MA, company still lost money--about $11.4 million. But that is a vast improvement over HeartWare's $25 million net loss in the 2012 third quarter.

Sales reps have worked hard since January's U.S. launch of the device, a small heart pump approved to assist heart failure patients waiting for transplant. U.S. sales, for example, jumped during the quarter to $28.2 million, from $3.6 million. But global sales also made huge gains, expanding to $26.6 million, from $19.3 million in the 2012 third quarter.

"Our results for the third quarter reflect continued positive trends in the commercial launch of the HeartWare System in the U.S., following approval from (the FDA) late last year, as well as continued strong support from our international customers," Doug Godshall, HeartWare's president and CEO, said in a statement.

Consider that the company sold 549 Ventricular Assist Systems around the world during the quarter, a high for the company to date. That compares with 256 in the 2012 third quarter and surpasses the previous high of 523 units sold in the 2013 second quarter.

Of course, new products that improve the standard of care can generate huge sales surges that go on for months, but there's a long-term risk of sales leveling off once market penetration reaches critical saturation. HeartWare is already trying to broaden the reach of its technology, however. In late August, the company rolled out a supplemental trial arm as part of its ongoing ENDURANCE trial testing the Ventricular Assist System as a destination therapy rather than just a bridge-to-transplant.

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