Boston Scientific raises full-year outlook as medical procedures regain momentum

Boston Scientific Corp. posted a first-quarter profit of $97 million on Wednesday as medical procedures ticked up in late winter.

The Massachusetts-based device maker edged Wall Street expectations with adjusted earnings-per-share of 39 cents and sales of more than $3 billion, up 10%.

Chief Executive Mike Mahoney said the company benefited from increased volume of procedures during the first quarter. After a slow January, business picked up in February and March.

The company also raised its 2022 full-year outlook for net sales, which is now expected to grow between 7% and 9%.

“Even with a strong start to the year, we’re pleasantly surprised to see management raising the organic sales guide,” J.P. Morgan analyst Robbie Marcus wrote in a note.

The Watchman device, which reduces the risk of stroke for patients with atrial fibrillation and aims to get them off blood thinners, led growth for the quarter. Organic sales of product line were up 33% compared to a year ago. The updated Watchman FLX debuted last year.

“The primary driver of this business continues to be the U.S.,” Mahoney told analysts about Watchman, with more products in development.

“There’s a really strong cadence of new products behind Watchman coming in the next three years.”

Sales were up 11.4% in its cardiovascular group of products; the medical surgical unit was up 9.1%.

Boston Scientific’s stock closed up 1% on Wednesday.

Med-tech manufacturers everywhere faced similar pandemic-related challenges. Patients and doctors delayed many surgical procedures, significantly denting sales for device makers. While COVID-19 remains an unpredictable variable, the number of procedures now appears to be picking up.

So far in the second quarter, Mahoney said, “trends are favorable.”

California-based Edwards Lifesciences, another major medical-technology firm, also reported Tuesday a 10% gain in first quarter sales.

In February, Boston Scientific completed its acquisition of Toronto-based Baylis Medical Co. with an upfront payment of $1.75 billion. The company expects the deal to add 1 cent to adjusted earnings per share this year.

The Baylis portfolio includes “guidewires, sheaths and dilators used to support catheter-based left-heart procedures.”

Locally, Boston Scientific is building a 74,000-square-foot expansion that will double its manufacturing space in Maple Grove. The project is set for completion by the end of the year.

Last year, Boston Scientific acquired Eagan-based Preventice Solutions, which developed technology for remote heart monitoring. The company paid about $720 million in upfront cash, with the possibility of an additional $230 million if the unit hits certain milestones.

The company had been a Preventice investor since 2015 and held a 22% equity stake at the time of the acquisition.