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Assessing the Role of Freestyle Libre in Abbott’s Diabetes Segment Growth


Nov. 24 2017, Updated 7:32 a.m. ET

Abbott’s Diabetes segment in 3Q17

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) registered Diabetes segment sales of ~$373 million in 3Q17, which represented ~14.4% of its total Medical Devices segment sales. The sales growth of the Diabetes segment came in at ~21.7% on a YoY (year-over-year) basis, while International sales growth was reported to be ~35% and was primarily driven by Freestyle Libre sales.

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Freestyle Libre related recent developments

In September 2017, Abbott Laboratories won FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approval for its breakthrough CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) device Freestyle Libre. (For more, read Market Realist’s “Abbott’s Breakthrough CGM Device Freestyle Libre Wins FDA Approval.”)

This device recently received reimbursement approval in Japan and the UK—two of the biggest markets for diabetes management therapy—which boosted the growth prospects of the device sales across these countries.

Abbott is expected to launch the device in early 2018. One of the competing devices, Dexcom’s (DXCM) G6, is expected to launch in late 2018. Other competing blood glucose monitoring devices in the market include those manufactured by Medtronic (MDT) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

Freestyle Libre’s professional version was approved by the FDA in 2016. The device received a CE Mark in 2014 and is available in around 40 countries. Freestyle Libre is being used by more than 400,000 diabetes patients worldwide today.

Expectations from the device’s impending commercial launch

Abbott expects to see strong demand for Freestyle Libre when its commercial launch takes place later this year or early next year. The company has seen huge success with the product in Europe, and recent reimbursement approvals across various nations show a strong value proposition in the product. Abbott stated that it’s adding ~50,000 diabetes patients to its customer base every quarter.

Notably, the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) has ~0.44% of its total portfolio in ABT.


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