Edwards Lifesciences reiterated its sales growth forecast for the year ahead, helped by accelerating patient volumes in its transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) business as macroeconomic pressures eased.
"As the global population ages and cardiovascular disease remains the largest health burden,” the company will have a steady stream of new customers, leaving it well-positioned for “long-term success,” CEO Michael Mussallem said in a statement.
The Irvine, California-based device maker, which competes with Medtronic in the heart valve replacement market, said the healthcare environment is gradually improving. While its TAVR sales of $868 million were flat in the fourth quarter, compared with a year ago, procedures involving the devices grew in the mid-single-digit range both in the U.S. and internationally.
William Blair analyst Margaret Kaczor said Edwards’ fourth-quarter results were modestly above her estimates.
“The beat in the quarter was driven by continued improvements of macro conditions, including hospital staffing shortages, an improved patient funnel, and easing COVID restrictions both domestically and internationally,” Kaczor said in a note to clients.
Though it will take several quarters for the company to return to double-digit TAVR growth and see a broader ramp-up in Pascal mitral sales, the company’s 12- to 18-month outlook remains positive, the analyst said.
Progress on New Products:
Edwards said it began the rollout of its Sapien 3 Ultra Resilia valve in the U.S. during the fourth quarter. The valve’s anti-calcification technology is designed to address one of the main causes of reintervention following heart valve replacement and has the potential to extend the valve’s durability, the company said.
The company also began the U.S. launch of the Pascal system to treat mitral and tricuspid regurgitation. Fourth-quarter sales of transcatheter mitral and tricuspid technologies (TMTT) were $32 million, supported by adoption of Pascal in Europe, Edwards said. Full-year global TMTT sales of $116 million were up almost 50% from a year ago on a constant-currency basis.
Edwards reaffirmed its 2023 forecast for 9% to 12% sales growth on a constant currency basis, predicting full-year sales will reach $5.6 billion to $6 billion. The company said it continues to expect full-year 2023 adjusted earnings per share of $2.45 to $2.60.
For the first quarter of 2023, Edwards projects total sales of between $1.37 billion and $1.45 billion, and adjusted EPS of $0.58 to $0.64.
"We expect meaningful growth and progress in 2023 with a gradual improvement in healthcare staffing and contributions from all major regions,” Mussallem said.