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7 Healthcare Stocks in Focus on World Heart Day

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Every year on Sep 29, World Heart Day is observed to raise awareness about cardiovascular (CV) diseases including heart disease and stroke. The focus is on creating heart-healthy environments that will help reduce cardiovascular risk be it at work or at home.

According to the World Heart Federation, CV diseases are the most common cause of death across the world with more than 17 million people dying annually. This figure is expected to cross 23 million by 2030. Some of the factors contributing to these numbers include uncontrolled hypertension, high cholesterol levels, obesity, smoking, diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle.

According to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year and about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.

Given these statistics, it is not surprising that several healthcare companies devote a significant amount of R&D dollars on developing treatments and devices for cardiovascular and other diseases that increase the risk of heart issues. And it is not just healthcare companies that are involved in the fitness segment – as people are becoming more conscious about their health, tech companies are coming out with fitness trackers that help keep track of heart rates, calories burned and sleep patterns.

This World Heart Day, let’s take a look at some well-positioned stocks in this segment of the market.  

Abbott Park, IL- based Abbott Laboratories (ABT - Free Report) has a strong presence in the cardiovascular disease device market. According to information provided by the company, in the U.S. alone, more than 40% of adults are expected to have one or more types of CV diseases by 2030. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has several CV devices in its portfolio and recently gained FDA approval for its Absorb bioresorbable heart stent, making it the only fully dissolving stent in the U.S. for the treatment of coronary artery disease, which affects 15 million people in the U.S. and remains a leading cause of death worldwide.

Moreover, Abbott’s upcoming acquisition of St. Jude Medical, which has a strong position in heart failure devices, atrial fibrillation and cardiac rhythm management, will complement Abbott's strength in coronary intervention and transcatheter mitral repair. Once the acquisition goes through, the combined company expects to compete in nearly every area of the large and high-growth cardiovascular device markets with an aggregate market opportunity of $30 billion.

ABBOTT LABS Price and Consensus

Marlborough, MA-based Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX - Free Report) also has a strong position in the heart disease device market – the company’s offerings in this segment include coronary stents, balloon catheters, rotational atherectomy systems, guide wires, guide catheters, embolic protection devices, crossing and re-entry devices for the treatment of chronically occluded coronary vessels, diagnostic catheters used in percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty procedures, and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging systems.  Boston Scientific is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock.

BOSTON SCIENTIF Price and Consensus

Irvine, CA-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (EW - Free Report) holds a leading position in patient-focused innovations for structural heart disease and critical care monitoring. The company’s products like annuloplasty rings, catheters and heart valves enable the treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease. The company is focused on developing transformational structural heart therapies and estimates that the global transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) opportunity could cross $5 billion in 2021. This Zacks Rank #2 stock is a leader in the approximately $1.8 billion global surgical heart valve segment. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

EDWARDS LIFESCI Price and Consensus

Moving away from medical device companies, here is a look at some pharma and biotech stocks that are working on developing treatments for cardiovascular diseases as well as diseases like hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes that increase the risk of heart problems.

One such company is biotech giant Amgen Inc. (AMGN - Free Report) – cardiovascular disease is one of the key focus areas for this Thousand Oaks, CA-based company. Two approved products within this segment include Repatha (a PCSK9 inhibitor for treating high cholesterol) and chronic heart failure treatment Corlanor. Meanwhile, Amgen’s cardiovascular disease pipeline includes omecamtiv mecarbil (heart failure) and AMG 899 (a CETP inhibitor for the treatment of dyslipidemia). Amgen is a Zacks Rank #3 stock.

AMGEN INC Price and Consensus

Swiss company, Novartis AG (NVS - Free Report) is also involved in the heart failure segment – the Zacks Rank #3 stock has an approved drug in the form of Entresto for the treatment of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. According to a report from the American Heart Association, heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans of whom 50% have the reduced ejection fraction form. More than 300,000 deaths due to this life-threatening condition are reported every year in the U.S.

Novartis recently announced that it will be conducting more than 40 studies on Entresto over a five-year period to generate additional data on the drug and to increase understanding of heart failure.

NOVARTIS AG-ADR Price and Consensus

While there are several companies like Merck, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi in the diabetes market, Indianapolis, IN-based Zacks Rank #2 stock Eli Lilly and Company (LLY - Free Report) looks well positioned in this market. Approved products include Trulicity, Jardiance, Humalog, Basaglar and Trajenta. Lilly has quite a few diabetes treatments in development as well. According to information provided by the American Heart Association, adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes.

LILLY ELI & CO Price and Consensus

New York-based Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Free Report) also has quite a few compounds in its cardiovascular and metabolic diseases pipeline. These include bococizumab (a PCSK9 inhibitor for hyperlipidemia) and ertugliflozin (type II diabetes) as well as some mid- and early-stage candidates for acute coronary syndrome, type II diabetes and hyperlipidemia. The Zacks Rank #3 stock entered an agreement earlier this year with The California Institute for Biomedical Research for the development of antibody-based therapeutic agents for the treatment of heart failure. Pfizer is no stranger to this market considering one of its highest-selling drugs was cholesterol treatment Lipitor before it went generic.

PFIZER INC Price and Consensus

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