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CEO Robert Ford highlighted new and upcoming products throughout the earnings call, calling the recently approved Triclip valve a “billion-dollar opportunity.”

Abbott CEO Robert Ford said Wednesday on an earnings call that a slate of recent approvals and a “highly productive” pipeline will accelerate growth.

The company recently received FDA authorization for a minimally invasive treatment for tricuspid regurgitation, a blood test to detect traumatic brain injury, and the ability to integrate its Freestyle Libre 2 Plus glucose sensor with Insulet’s Omnipod 5 insulin pump.

Abbott is looking to enter the competitive pulsed field ablation market with its Volt system. The company also plans to add new devices to its diabetes segment, including a dual-analyte sensor that can detect glucose and ketones, and a consumer version of its glucose sensors that Abbott launched in the U.K. last year.

“We’ve got a real nice cadence of products and pipeline, beyond the next 12 to 18 months,” Ford told investors.

Abbott raised its sales and earnings forecasts for 2024, which it typically does not do in the first quarter, Ford added. The company now expects organic sales growth of 8.5% to 10%, excluding COVID-19 tests, and diluted earnings per share of $3.25 to $3.40.

“I just feel that this type of performance that we delivered gives us the confidence for the remainder of the outlook of the year. So we felt comfortable raising the guidance,” he said.

While some challenges remain from January, including foreign exchange rates and geopolitics, the company sees more opportunities than risks, Ford added.

PFA competition

Medtronic and Boston Scientific have already brought their pulsed field ablation devices to the U.S. market. The new form of cardiac ablation is intended to treat a type of arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation by selectively scarring heart tissue.

Abbott is working on its own version of the technology with its Volt system. The company recently finished enrolling in a trial in Europe and expects to file for a CE mark before the end of the year. It also recently began enrolling patients in a U.S. trial that would generate the data needed to file for FDA approval, Ford said.

“It’s an important therapy. It’s an under penetrated disease,” he said. “So we know there’s plenty of growth in this segment. And as a result of that, it’s highly competitive.”

Tricuspid repair vs. replacement

Ford said Abbott’s new Triclip system could be a “billion-dollar opportunity” as the company builds up more capabilities and clinical data. The device is used in a minimally invasive procedure to repair the tricuspid valve to prevent blood from leaking back through it.

Triclip is competing with a system made by Edwards Lifesciences to replace the valve entirely. Ford expects safety to play a “key role” in helping physicians decide between repairing or replacing the valve.

“I expect repair or Triclip to be the preferred option unless the valves are too damaged, and then obviously replacement is the only remaining option,” he said.

About 5 million patients globally, including 2 million people in the U.S., could be in the patient pool.