Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Abbott Q1 Diagnostic Revenues Drop 2 Percent Despite Slight Uptick in MDx Sales

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Abbott reported on Wednesday morning that its first quarter diagnostic revenues decreased around 2 percent year over year, although its molecular diagnostic sales inched up a fraction of a percent.

The Abbott Park, Ill.-based company reported total worldwide revenues of $4.90 billion for the three months ended March 31, up 3 percent from $4.76 billion a year ago and surpassing analysts' consensus estimate of $4.85 billion. Excluding negative currency effects, total sales increased 10 percent year over year.

Sales in Abbott's Diagnostics business totaled $1.09 billion, a decrease of 2 percent from $1.12 billion for the prior-year period, but up 6 percent excluding unfavorable foreign currency effects.

Abbott's molecular diagnostics sales were $111 million in Q1, up a fraction of a percent on a reported basis and 7 percent excluding currency effects. Growth in this segment was driven by double-digit operational growth in the infectious diseases business, which represents about 55 percent of molecular diagnostics sales.

Growth in MDx was also favorably impacted in the quarter by the timing of tenders in emerging markets, Brian Blaser, executive vice president of diagnostics products, said during a conference call recapping Abbott's Q1 earnings.

"In Europe, we're early into the launch of our Iridica infectious disease testing platform, which helps identify serious infections such as sepsis," Blaser said. "For the second quarter, we expect relatively flat growth in our molecular diagnostics business, as we expect growth of the infectious disease business to be offset by the declines in our non-core oncology and genetics businesses."

Abbott announced in December the CE marking and European launch of Iridica. Formerly called Plex-ID, Iridica uses a combination of PCR and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry to amplify and detect pathogens directly from patient samples without the need for culture.

Also within the Diagnostics unit, core laboratory diagnostics sales fell 4 percent to $866 million, while point-of-care diagnostics sales grew 14 percent to $116 million.

In other business units, Nutrition sales increased 2 percent on a reported basis to $1.67 billion; Established Pharmaceuticals jumped 32 percent to $897 million; and Medical Devices fell nearly 7 percent to $1.23 billion.

The company's R&D expenses fell 15 percent in Q1 to $313 million from $369 million, while its SG&A expenses rose 7 percent to $1.74 billion from $1.62 billion.

Abbott's Q1 net income was $2.29 billion, or $1.51 per share, compared to $375 million, or $.24 per share, in Q1 2014. Excluding special items, Abbott's Q1 EPS was $.47 per share, above analysts' consensus estimate of $.42 per share.

"While currency was a factor, including a 7 percent negative impact on the top line, we continued to manage through its effect on the bottom line," Chairman and CEO Miles White said during the conference call. "Our first quarter adjusted earnings per share of $.47 exceeds our previous guidance range and reflects growth of 38 percent."

Abbott said that its full-year 2015 earnings guidance remains unchanged, with EPS from continuing operations, excluding special items, of $2.10 to $2.20. The company continues to forecast special items related to continuing operations for full-year 2015 of approximately $.77 per share. These items include intangible amortization expense, charges associated with cost reduction initiatives, and expenses related to acquisitions.