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Abbott Laboratories (ABT - Analyst Report) recently announced that the company has launched ACCELERATOR a3600 – its next-generation track system to increase efficiency in laboratories.

A laboratory automation track system, ACCELERATOR a3600 enables processing for up to 3,600 samples per hour along with handling multiple tube sizes and types simultaneously.

Moreover, this system automates routine, manual tasks which in turn should lead to reduction in error and improvement in efficiency. Further, automation helps laboratories around the world to cope with staffing shortages, budget constraints, and increased demands.

Abbott Labs developed ACCELERATOR a3600 with its Swiss partner Inpeco SA to address the growing need for faster processing in tests while handling increased volume.

We note that the diagnostics business is one of the key businesses for Abbott Labs after having separated its proprietary pharmaceutical business into a new company called AbbVie (ABBV - Analyst Report) on Jan 1, 2013.

Abbott Labs continues to focus on the development of next-generation instruments and other advanced technologies along with expansion in emerging markets in its diagnostics business. In particular, improvement in operating margins is a key area of emphasis in this segment.

A few days ago, Abbott Labs announced that the company obtained CE Marking (Conformite Europeenne) for its ARCHITECT Galectin-3 assay test. The CE mark is mandatory confirmation for products placed in the European markets. Abbott developed this test in collaboration with BG Medicine, Inc. (BGMD) to run on its ARCHITECT immunochemistry platform.

The test is primarily aimed to enable doctors in assessing the prognosis of patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure (HF). ARCHITECT Galectin-3 assay test is available in several European countries.

Galectin-3 can indicate heart failure by chalking out the pathophysiology of HF. Subsequently, the doctors can identify the susceptible patients for heart failure who are at high risk.

We believe that Abbott Labs is extremely diversified with a presence in the nutrition, diagnostics, generic pharmaceuticals and medical devices markets. In particular, the nutrition and diagnostics business should maintain momentum and boost the bottom line due to an improvement in operating margins.

Abbott Labs currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Nuvasive (NUVA - Snapshot Report) currently looks attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)

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