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Abbott: A Healthy Outlook for the New Year

Abbott CFO highlights promising product pipeline and sustainable growth at key investor conference.

Originally Published by Abbott.

Each year brings resolutions; For Abbott, a new year means it is ready to keep delivering on its promises for better health through its life-changing technologies and translating that success into another year of outstanding performance.

A combination of strategic shaping and consistent execution has put Abbott in a compelling position for the year, with the bright promise of sustainable revenue growth to fuel earnings.

"We feel there's never been a more exciting time for Abbott than right now," said Brian Yoor, Abbott's executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer, to investors at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Tuesday in San Francisco. "Our product pipeline has never been richer than it is today, and we're well positioned over the coming years for sustainable growth."

Coming off 2018 when Abbott shares rose 23 percent compared to broader averages that fell for the full year, the company's core businesses – medical devices, diagnostics, nutrition and medicines – are seeing continued strong performance, Yoor noted. Now the global healthcare company can build on its market-leading positions in high growth areas such as diabetes care, diagnostics and cardiovascular devices.

The surging success with Abbott's FreeStyle Libre portfolio reflects the power of making medical devices simpler, which has changed how people live with diabetes by making it much easier to monitor their glucose levels.

With more than a million users globally, FreeStyle Libre1 and its fingerstick-eliminating convenience offers broad appeal for the more than 400 million people with diabetes around the world. The latest innovations around the FreeStyle Libre portfolio will continue to make it easier to use with smartphones to give users more choices in how they monitor their levels.

Another solid growth area for Abbott continues to be diagnostics. Abbott's Alinity family of diagnostic instruments is seeing accelerated sales in Europe while initiating its roll out in U.S. markets.

The genesis of years of customer-focused research, the revolutionary testing platforms produce results in a significantly smaller footprint, saving space and time for labs and health systems. Each Alinity platform has been engineered to be faster, simpler to operate and be easier to maintain and monitor. As Alinity penetrates new markets and wins renewals with established customers, the benefits for Abbott's performance will continue to grow.

Heart health continues to also dominate healthcare challenges. Abbott's line of technologies aimed at improving lagging heart function from ailments that affect all ages such as our Structural Heart portfolio, is expected to continue its brisk growth and drive results.

"Our structural heart portfolio is having a great impact on people's lives," Yoor said at the conference. "We couldn't be more pleased about where we stand with the assets we have and the opportunities ahead with structural heart – we have a rich pipeline coming."

Having successfully integrated two large recent acquisitions, Abbott is translating that into better performance for its core businesses for the coming year. Equally notable is how aggressive the company has been in paying down the debt it used for its mergers and acquisitions activity – more than $8 billion paid back last year alone, prompting one debt rating agency to upgrade Abbott twice last year.

By paying back debt quickly, Abbott's financial ratios have returned to levels seen before it made its most recent changes. The improved balance sheet has freed up resources to invest in businesses as well as distribute to shareholders through Abbott's 47th consecutive year of dividend increases. The latest dividend hike of 14 percent announced Dec. 14 reflects leadership's confidence in Abbott's sustained growth and in its strategic shaping.

"We know the strengths we have with Libre, with Alinity and our structural heart assets," Yoor said at the conference. "With all the work we've done on our cash flow, it's great to have our financial flexibility again. It's really shaping up to be an exciting year for us."

The Conversation

Abbott to Acquire Cephea Valve Technologies, Inc.

Acquisition to further bolster Abbott's leading position in therapies for mitral valve disease, the most common type of heart valve ailment.

Abbott has announced that it has exercised its option to purchase Cephea Valve Technologies, Inc., a privately held medical device company developing a less-invasive heart valve replacement technology for people with mitral valve disease. Financial terms were not disclosed. Abbott provided capital and secured an option to purchase Cephea in 2015.

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Abbott: Ending the AIDS Epidemic is Within Reach

At the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, it was hard to imagine ending the AIDS epidemic.

Originally Published by Abbott.

As we approach the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, on December 1, we celebrate the tremendous progress made, and focus on working together to banish this epidemic to the history books.

Shooting for the Goal

While there is not a cure for HIV, we have made significant progress in testing and treating the virus, plus monitoring how people are responding to treatment – moving us closer to ending the epidemic. Today, three out of four people living with HIV know their status, a vital first step to getting treatment. And thanks to sustained access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), people with HIV are living longer and healthier lives.

As we work together to continue the fight against this global epidemic, goals have been set to reach specific targets so that AIDS is no longer a threat to our public health. To meet these targets, experts from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) established the 90-90-90 plan to step up the HIV response so that by 2020:

  • 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status
  • 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained ART
  • 90 percent of all people receiving ART will have viral suppression

To make these goals a reality, the global health community must accelerate efforts for people to get tested, putting outreach programs in place that meet the needs in different parts of the world.

Testing is Key

For more than 30 years, Abbott has helped in the fight against HIV and AIDS. We're especially proud of our scientists who worked nonstop to develop the first HIV blood test, approved by the U.S. FDA in 1985, and of our team of Virus Hunters who relentlessly search the globe for signs of new strains of the virus.

Abbott's broad range of tests span the entire continuum of care for people at risk for HIV or living with the virus whether they are getting treatment at a public health clinic in Chicago or living in a remote village in Uganda. Abbott's tests are also used to screen more than 60 percent of the world's blood supply, helping keep it safe from infectious diseases.

While significant progress has been made, one challenge in reaching the 90-90-90 goals is making testing technology accessible to everyone, including people living in remote areas. Outside of the U.S., Abbott is helping address this issue with the collection of a few drops of dried blood on a special paper. These samples can be transported without immediate refrigeration for testing, making it possible for clinicians to monitor their patients' HIV treatment response.

An additional gap that needs to be addressed is diagnosing HIV in infants, for whom time is of the essence because nearly half of HIV-positive babies who don't receive timely treatment die before they reach the age of two. Outside of the U.S., Abbott is tackling this challenge by providing an early infant diagnosis test that offers same-day results at the point of care. Mothers often travel many miles to bring their babies for a doctor's visit, so being able to provide same-visit results enables faster access to HIV treatment.

We Could Make It Happen

No one organization can end the AIDS epidemic on its own. Over the years, Abbott has established several partnerships to increase access to testing to key populations.

The global health community has the tools and technology to help create a future in which AIDS is no longer a threat to our public health. But it's going to take all of us working together, using all the tools at our disposal, to do so. On World AIDS Day and every day, let's do our part to put an end to this epidemic. Talk to your doctor and encourage others to get tested for HIV.

Abbott: Cybersecurity in the Connected Hospital

New white paper shares perceptions of medical device cybersecurity, need for collaboration to address cyber challenges.

Originally Published by Abbott.

In today's digital world, the rise of connected health – advanced, technology-enabled tools that provide people and their physicians with information to better manage their health – is transforming patient care. Studies have shown that connected devices can significantly improve patient outcomes by reducing hospitalizations and the overall cost of care.

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Abbott: Top Internship for Healthcare and Tech

Interns have spoken: Abbott is the top college internship program for healthcare and tech & engineering.

Originally Published by Abbott.

Abbott recognizes the need to develop its future leaders early, and has been named the top healthcare and tech & engineering internship program by Vault.

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Scientists Name Abbott a Top Workplace

The results are in: Abbott's a top 20 workplace for scientists.

Originally Published by Abbott.

What do scientists at Abbott do?

They create tiny, life-saving devices for baby's hearts, seek out neurons that cause Parkinson's and develop tests for Zika. They invent wearable sensors that eliminate the need for painful fingerpricks for people with diabetes. They drive breakthroughs in infant formula and make it possible to test half the world's blood supply.

They are our superheroes. And today, they've named us one of theirs.

After Science Magazine surveyed scientists at biotech companies around the world – ranking each on 23 characteristics from financial strength to having a research-driven environment – Abbott has landed for the 15th year on its Top Employers list.

The Brighton Consulting Group independently evaluated each company's employer reputation score, considering factors such as whether it treats its employees with respect and whether its work-culture values align with employees' personal values.

One of the coolest things about being a scientist at Abbott is we have tracks for both management – and science. You can continue to climb while never giving up the research you love, or you can choose to take a management track and lead a team. There are paths for advancement for both.

Last year alone, we launched more than 20 life-changing technologies around the globe. We do work that matters.

New Study Shows Abbott's Novel Diagnostic Test Could Help Rule Out Heart Attacks Earlier

Preliminary research indicates that a diagnostic test currently in development, that is done at the patient's side in minutes, has similar accuracy to a high-sensitive troponin test for early rule out of a heart attack .

Originally Published by Abbott.

For someone experiencing cardiac symptoms in the emergency room, every minute matters as physicians determine whether someone is having a heart attack. New data, published online in JAMA Cardiology, found a new blood test under development that is done right at the patient's side in as little as 15 minutes could identify nearly three-fifths (56.7 percent) of people at low-risk of experiencing a heart attack, similar to the results of a High Sensitive Troponin-I blood test done in the laboratory setting.

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