- Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO): A leader in scientific instrumentation, TMO is a powerhouse among medical device stocks.
- Edwards Lifesciences (EW): Promoting products to help improving cardiovascular disease outcomes, EW is a feel-good story.
- Stryker (SYK): Covering multiple areas including oral hygiene, SYK could enjoy upside due to the normalization effect.
- Intuitive Surgical (ISRG): A specialist in minimally invasive care, ISRG is on a relative discount.
- Abiomed (ABMD): Developing critical devices for mitigating heart failure, ABMD is another name on discount.
- Medtronic (MDT): Manufacturing several devices across a range of needs, MDT is an everyman among medical device stocks.
- Cyberdyne (CYBQY): An exoskeleton device maker to address mobility concerns, Cyberdyne is risky but intriguing.
For the broader healthcare industry, the coronavirus pandemic was simultaneously a reflection of the remarkable ingenuity of the sector and the frailties of a modern society coping with a scourge. Unfortunately, this imbalance created a bifurcated dynamic for medical device stocks, with some segments doing well while others performed poorly.
As an article from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health stated, “Roughly 20% of U.S. adults who were polled about health care during the coronavirus pandemic said that they or their household members delayed receiving medical care or were unable to get care at all due to the crisis.”
Naturally, such a circumstance impacted medical device stocks not directly related to Covid-19.
As well, the disruption wasn’t limited to the U.S. Per a report from McKinsey & Company, demand for specific types of devices such as those geared toward elective procedures contributed to downwind challenges. Until the Covid-19 crisis is fully addressed across the globe, many medical device stocks could suffer.
Fortunately, current Covid case statistics indicate that the worst may be behind us. If so, the normalization effect should bring more people out of the woodwork, which would then holistically boost the below medical device stocks.
|Thermo Fisher Scientific
|Edwards Lifesciences Corporation
|Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
Medical Device Stocks: Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO)
One of the leaders in the manufacturing of scientific instrumentation along with reagents, consumables and software services, Thermo Fisher Scientific is an easy name to go with regarding medical device stocks to buy. Though it initially slipped during the first onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, TMO quickly jumped higher as the company supplied the underpinnings of advanced research for vaccines.
In addition, Thermo Fisher provided testing solutions and kits, thus actively playing a role in getting society back on its feet. Therefore, even if the SARS-CoV-2 virus decides to stick around (let’s hope not, though), TMO is well positioned to benefit from the circumstance, albeit cynically.
The relevance that the company enjoyed has been reflected in the financials. By the end of 2020, Thermo managed to generate $32.2 billion, a sizable 26% increase from 2019’s tally of $25.5 billion. In 2021, the company managed to ring up top-line sales of $39.2 billion, resulting in an impressive growth of 22% year-over-year.
Edwards Lifesciences (EW)
Billed as a leader in manufacturing heart valves, Edwards Lifesciences states that it’s dedicated to improving the lives of patients fighting cardiovascular disease and critical illnesses. Best known for its Sapien transcatheter heart valve, this critical device features a relatively small profile, thus designed to keep the patient’s future needs in mind.
While I don’t want to steer the discussion into a cynical framework, according to a publication on Jama Network, patients with Covid-19 “were at increased risk of a broad range of cardiovascular disorders including cerebrovascular disorders, dysrhythmias, ischemic and non–ischemic heart disease, pericarditis, myocarditis, heart failure, and thromboembolic disease.”
As some might have expected, Edwards Lifesciences saw revenue growth flatline in 2020, posting sales of just under $4.4 billion. This figure was a hair short of 1% growth over 2019’s result as non-Covid-related medical device stocks produced mixed performances. However, 2021 delivered sales of $5.2 billion, reflecting increasing momentum toward this healthcare segment.
Featuring a broad range of solutions, Stryker is among the top names to consider for medical device stocks. Essentially, as everyday people become acclimated to the Covid-19 crisis, they will likely resume their normal healthcare routine, particularly for elective and non-acute or emergency concerns.
Now, there’s plenty to like about SYK stock and its underlying business. However, its oral hygiene segment could see a rebound. In fact, the Washington Post wrote a fascinating story about this dynamic, how many Americans had forgone dental care for the past two years. Today, they’re ready to see their dentists – and companies like Stryker are going to be taking orders for various product needs.
Sure, it’s cynical but the trend favors SYK. As expected given the circumstances, in 2020, the company posted sales of $14.4 billion, a haul that was almost 4% below the prior year’s result. However, last year, Stryker rang up $17.1 billion, up over 19% YOY.
Medical Device Stocks: Intuitive Surgical (ISRG)
Famous for the development of the da Vinci surgical system, Intuitive Surgical specializes in minimally invasive care. If you’re arguably like most people, going under the knife isn’t exactly fun times. Some have a paralyzing fear of medical procedures called tomophobia. Fortunately, minimally invasive procedures can help lessen anxieties while improving health outcomes.
But it’s not just about addressing natural fears of surgery that makes ISRG so intriguing. Traditional operations may involve intensive work – and sometimes, things can go wrong. Even in the best of circumstances, certain types of surgeries can leave patients hospitalized for several days. Through the da Vinci system, though, it can potentially mitigate the need for excessive hospitalization, thus saving costs.
Long a favorite among investors, ISRG is down over 16% on a year-to-date basis through the final day of March. This could possibly represent a discount. In 2021, Intuitive generated revenue of $5.7 billion, beating out 2020’s result by a blistering 31%.
Headquartered in Danvers, Massachusetts with international offices in Germany and Japan, Abiomed develops and manufactures external and implantable circulatory support devices. Arguably, the company is best known for its Impella heart pumps, which support more than 210,000 patients according to its website. Given the size of the baby boomer population, Abiomed should be one of the most relevant medical device stocks to buy.
Again, I don’t want to be overly cynical but the numbers are the numbers. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 18.6 million people succumbed to cardiovascular disease in 2019, reflecting a 17.1% increase over the past decade. Furthermore, Covid-19 will likely impact this situation negatively due in part to “increased lifestyle-related risks during and after the pandemic.”
Of course, the other side of the equation is that companies like Abiomed can help promote positive outcomes in this space, driving the feel-good narrative for medical device stocks. In its fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, Abiomed generated $848 million, up less than 1% from fiscal 2020’s result. However, its trailing-12-month revenue tally of $1 billion suggests a lift in momentum.
Covering a wide range of needs, Medtronic is basically the everyman of medical device stocks. From advanced surgical technologies to oral hygiene products to spinal and orthopedic solutions, whatever you need, Medtronic probably has you covered. However, its product pipeline to address diabetes piqued my interest.
For one thing, experts project that the “number of Americans with prediabetes will climb from 90.6 million in 2015 to 107.7 million in 2030.” Second, products such as continuous glucose monitoring systems have generated considerable interest among retail investors. However, it might be better to go with established medical device stocks rather than betting the farm on an upstart.
If the single-product focused company fails, that could be it. In contrast, Medtronic has other revenue streams to fall back on.
The financials for MDT also look interesting. In fiscal 2021, the company generated sales of $30.1 billion, a modest 4% increase against the year-ago period. However, it’s a consistently and robustly profitable firm, posting net income of $3.6 billion last year.
Medical Device Stocks: Cyberdyne (CYBQY)
For those that want to take some big risks with their medical device stocks, I bring you Cyberdyne. Though the name coincidentally ties in with the fictional Cyberdyne Systems from the Terminator franchise of science-fiction films, what’s similar between the two is the exoskeleton. For the real Cyberdyne, the company specializes in exoskeleton suits that enhance mobility for patients with compromised functionality.
Based in Japan, Cyberdyne has obvious implications for the country’s aging population. According to another report published on JAMA Network, Japan has the highest proportion of centenarians among the general population. Therefore, you’ve got to imagine that Cyberdyne’s exoskeleton would enjoy a sizable total addressable market.
As well, people who suffer from injuries could make use of the mobility suit, improving lives everywhere. However, it’s the financial realm where Cyberdyne falls short. Revenue growth has been very modest and small at only $17.3 million for fiscal 2021. In addition, the company consistently prints net losses.
Still, if you want a chance at a moonshot and can handle the risk, Cyberdyne stock could be for you.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.