Biotech Market Advancements

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted May 8, 2013

Good news continues to come in on the biotech front, this time from a company creating a new device that could prove effective at helping those with heart conditions live healthier, more productive lives. 

Medtronic VivaOn Monday, Minneapolis-based Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) announced it had received clearance from the FDA to launch a new cardiac device known as Viva. The device functions by helping to resynchronize the heart’s beating, effectively cutting down on hospitalizations due to heart failure if properly implemented. 

Medtronic’s Viva device is a permanent implant that utilizes a special algorithm to regulate the beating of the heart, automatically adjusting itself based upon a person’s activity level. It also comes with a 25% longer battery life than models previously seen and requires very little in the way of regular calibration by doctors.

According to Bloomberg, studies have shown that patients who use the Viva device are 21% less likely to be hospitalized within their first year of treatment than those utilizing older devices, which accounts for a savings of $1,600 per patient throughout the device’s lifespan.

The biggest maker of heart-regulating devices in the world, Medtronic has a lot to celebrate with the FDA approval of the Viva. The company markets products and services to both patients and healthcare professionals, and it has reached markets throughout the globe since first being founded in 1949.

On Monday, MDT stocks dropped 1% to $47.70, although shares in the company have grown more than 14% since the start of the year.

A Golden Age for Biotech

Pay even a small amount of attention to what’s been happening in the biotech industry as of late, and it becomes abundantly clear that biotech is currently in the middle of a veritable golden age.

A great deal of advancements have been made on all fronts in the industry in recent years, and Medtronic is just one more example of these companies poised for a promising future.

Much of the improvements in the world of biotech come from scientific advancements that have helped companies to create drugs and devices, the likes of which are dramatically new in comparison to what has been seen on the market up until now.

As patients and healthcare providers are eager to experiment with new treatments with the potential to lengthen lives and simplify daily routine, it should come as no surprise that the industry has been on a strong tear. 

One noticeable effect of the soaring biotech industry is the trend of large corporations partnering with smaller companies within the industry in order to help fund research that could lead to new drugs and devices, many of which are state of the art and have yet to be seen on the market in any way, shape or form.

In such a scenario, it seems as if everyone involved benefits so long as research and development prove to be successful.



A Bright Future for Medtronic

The announcement made Monday by Medtronic casts a very good light on the company, and it may serve as an indication for a bright future. As the largest producer of heart-regulating devices in the world, Medtronic could effectively corner the market with the Viva device, adding significantly to the company’s overall value. 

It’s important to look at the bigger picture as well, however. Biotech is currently in the middle of a bull market, much of which has to do with speculation. After all, it can take years for drugs and devices to gain approval, which adds to the speculative nature of investing in this particular area of industry.

With speculation such as this, however, comes the potential for great gains if all goes according to plan—something that has kept investors interested in biotech and is likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Medtronic stock is a perfect example of what has become a constant in the industry, seeing an increase in 25% over the course of just the past year. With a new, major announcement on its side, it’s not likely that Medtronic will be slowing down anytime soon.

Investors should take note that a company like this is not necessarily a one-off example of success, but rather an indicator for where biotech is going to continue to go.


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