Abbott Labs' Stent Gains in the Market

Xience V arterial stent

When it comes to treating blocked arteries with drug-coated stents, Abbott Laboratories (ABT) was an also-ran. Both Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Boston Scientific (BSX) were in the market with these specially treated tubes of metal mesh by early 2004. Medtronic (MDT) joined them in early 2008. North Chicago's Abbott didn't win Food & Drug Administration approval for its drug-coated Xience V stent until July. But last, in this case, may soon be first. Xience V already has captured 25% of the market for this second- generation stent--an achievement that Abbott Chairman and Chief Executive Miles D. White had thought would take as long as a year.

Abbott's stent won over surgeons after the drug and medical products maker conducted head-to-head trials with large groups of patients that showed it worked better than the Taxus stent from rival Boston Scientific. By using a new compound and a new mechanical structure, Xience V lowered the risk of heart attacks and arteries becoming reclogged, which might require patients to undergo another operation. "We pulled together the best in class," says John Capek, executive vice-president for medical devices. Industry analysts now expect Xience V to be No. 1 in the U.S. market next year, with sales hitting $1 billion worldwide.

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