Abbott Laboratories (ABT) yesterday announced the launch of its next-generation XIENCE PRIME Everolimus Eluting Coronary Stent System for the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD). XIENCE PRIME is now available in Europe and other countries throughout Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

XIENCE PRIME is the latest offering from Abbott’s robust vascular product division, which recorded strong growth in 2008 with sales coming in at $2.2 billion (up 35%). XIENCE PRIME received approval in the EU in June 2009. The widespread availability of XIENCE PRIME in Europe should help boost the company’s market share.

Abbott is a major player in the drug-eluting stent (DES) market with XIENCE V in its portfolio. XIENCE V is a drug coated stent that is used to treat CAD by propping open a narrowed or blocked artery and releasing the drug, everolimus, in a controlled manner over time so as to help prevent the artery from getting blocked again.

Shortly after its 2008 approval in the U.S., XIENCE V became the market-leading drug-eluting stent (DES) in the U.S. Clinical trial data has been very encouraging, which resulted in a strong launch in the U.S. as well as overseas.

Given its novel stent design and delivery system, which should allow greater flexibility and improved deliverability, XIENCE PRIME should rapidly become a leading player in the DES market in Europe. As far as the U.S. market is concerned, PRIME is currently in a large-scale clinical program called SPIRIT PRIME. If approved, PRIME could hit the U.S. market in the first half of 2012.

Abbott’s Vascular Products segment should continue posting robust growth mainly due to the strong performance of XIENCE V and additional contributions from PRIME. Abbott’s primary competitors in the DES market include Boston Scientific (BSX), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Medtronic Inc. (MDT). 

We have a Neutral rating on Abbott.

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