World Heart Day is observed every year on September 29 to raise awareness across the world about cardiovascular (CV) diseases. CV diseases, more commonly known as heart disease or stroke, are basically diseases of the heart or blood vessels.
According to the World Heart Federation, CV diseases are the biggest killers in the world accounting for 17.5 million deaths every year with the number 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.
The theme this World Heart Day is “Share the Power” with the focus on inspiring people across the world to be heart healthy. The focus is on creating heart-healthy environments that will help reduce cardiovascular risk be it at work or at home. Simple changes in lifestyle including healthy eating, exercising, lower alcohol consumption and giving up smoking are some of the ways to cut or even prevent the risk of CV diseases.
According to the FDA, 2,200 people die from cardiovascular disease every day in the United States – this adds up to about 815,000 Americans every year. 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. According to a GBI Research report, more than 1,400 products are in active development for CV diseases with the focus being on four main indications – hypertension, heart failure, dyslipidemia and thrombosis.
Importantly, it is not just healthcare companies that are involved in the fitness segment – with many CV diseases being preventable by addressing behavioral risk factors like food consumption, smoking and lack of exercise, people are becoming more conscious about their health. This has led to tech companies coming out with fitness trackers that help keep track of heart rates, calories burned and sleep patterns all of which help in the management of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and obesity.
With World Heart Day coming up, let’s take a look at some well-positioned stocks in this segment of the market.
3 Heart Disease Focused Stocks to Buy Ahead of World Heart Day: BioTelemetry, Inc. (BEAT)
BioTelemetry, Inc. (NASDAQ:BEAT): Malvern, PA-based BioTelemetry is a wireless medical technology company which provides health information with the aim of improving the quality of life and reduce the cost of care. The company provides cardiac monitoring services, original equipment manufacturing with a primary focus on cardiac monitoring devices and centralized core laboratory services.
The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has a strong earnings track record having surpassed expectations in each of the last four quarters. The recent acquisition of LifeWatch has positioned the company as the largest provider of remote healthcare services in the world. BioTelemetry looks well-positioned in the rapidly evolving connected health market and expects to serve more than a million patients in 2018.
Shares of BioTelemetry have gained 39.8% year to date, significantly outperforming the industry’s 4% rally.
3 Heart Disease Focused Stocks to Buy Ahead of World Heart Day: Edwards Lifesciences Corp (EW)
Edwards Lifesciences Corp (NYSE:EW): Edwards Lifesciences holds a leading position in patient-focused innovations for structural heart disease and critical care monitoring. The company’s portfolio includes products like annuloplasty rings, catheters and heart valves that enable the treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease.
Edwards Lifesciences is focused on developing transformational structural heart therapies and estimates that the global transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) opportunity could cross $5 billion by 2021 driven by increasing awareness, expanding indications and improving technology.
Shares of this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock, which holds a strong position in the approximately $1.8 billion global surgical heart valve segment, are up 17.9% year to date compared to the industry’s rally of 17.8%. The company has consistently surpassed earnings expectations in each of the last four quarters.
3 Heart Disease Focused Stocks to Buy Ahead of World Heart Day: Novartis AG (NVS)
Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS): Although Swiss drugmaker, Novartis, has been in the news lately for gaining approval for the first CAR-T cell treatment in the United States, the company is also a key player in the heart failure segment – the Zacks Rank #2 stock has an approved drug in the form of Entresto for the treatment of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.
Heart failure, a debilitating and life-threatening condition, is estimated to affect more than 60 million people across the world. About 50% of heart failure patients suffer from reduced ejection fraction. Novartis is working on generating more data on Entresto and heart failure through more than 40 active or planned studies. Novartis also has a good earnings track record with earnings surpassing expectations in each of the last four quarters.
Shares of this Zacks Rank #2 stock are up 18.4% year to date compared to the industry’s rally of 16.7%.
In addition to the above three stocks, there are several other companies involved in this therapeutic area including companies like Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) and Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY) among others.
These companies are key players in the diabetes market – according to information provided by the American Heart Association, adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than adults without diabetes. While Merck and Lilly are both Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stocks, Novo Nordisk is a Zacks Rank #2 stock. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
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