Edwards Lifesciences raises 2017 outlook, details 2018 goals

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Edwards LifesciencesEdwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW) today raised its outlook for the rest of this year and set its goals for the coming year, saying it expects to post earnings growth of about 12% on a roughly 9% sales gain in 2018 and pledging “aggressive” investment in R&D.

The Irvine, Calif.-based heart valve maker, which yesterday acquired mitral valve repair developer Harpoon Medical for $100 million in cash plus another $150 million in potential milestones, released the numbers at its annual investor conference in New York City.

For 2017, Edwards upped the forecast for adjusted earnings per share to $3.65 to $3.85, up from $3.30 to $3.45 previously. Annual sales are expected to reach the high end of Edwards’s existing guidance for $3.0 billion to $3.4 billion.

Next year Edwards expects to report adjusted EPS of $4.10 to $4.30, representing growth of 12.3% to 11.7%. Sales are pegged at $3.5 billion to $3.9 billion, which would be growth of 16.7% to 14.7% compared with the forecast for 2017. Edwards said it expects to log transcatheter heart valve sales of $2.1 billion to $2.4 billion in 2018.

“As we come to the end of 2017, our performance and accomplishments this year significantly exceeded our expectations, and we expect 2018 to be another strong year for Edwards Lifesciences. Our global growth is being driven by our transcatheter aortic valve therapies, and continued advancement in each of our market-leading product lines,” chairman & CEO Mike Mussallem said in prepared remarks. “In 2018, we are projecting strong financial results while we continue to invest aggressively to provide breakthrough therapies for patients in need. During the year, we expect to achieve a number of meaningful clinical milestones that will serve as indicators of our progress in advancing multiple transcatheter mitral and tricuspid programs.”

Edwards also announced a $1 billion stock buyback, on top of the 1.1 million shares it’s already repurchased and retired.

Product rollouts coming across the board

Edwards also detailed a series of rollouts across its product lines, citing the expected 2018 launch of the Sapien 3 Ultra and the Centera self-centering aortic valves. Results for a study of low-risk patients is expected to deliver results during the first half of 2019, with commercial approval coming late that year.

In transcatheter mitral and tricuspid replacement, the company said it’s looking to achieve “a number of meaningful clinical milestones” next year, including the launch of “at least one transformational therapy” a year in Europe from 2018 through 2020. Edwards cited the Cardioband technology it acquired with the $690 million Valtech Cardio buyout early this year and its Pascal mitral repair device.

The Inspiris surgical valve is slated to hit the market in the U.S. and Europe in 2018, along with Harpoon Medical’s mitral repair device, the company said. In critical care Edwards cited the planned launch in 2018 for its Acumen hypotension diagnostic technology.

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