Edwards Lifesciences: +0.9%
2020 revenue: $4,386,300,000
R&D spending up 1.1%
Headcount up 6.4%
Edwards Lifesciences represents an exception to the rule. Its structural heart devices often weren’t directly combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, but they were so needed to preserve people’s lives that procedure volumes quickly recovered.
The Irvine, Calif.–based company ended 2020 with $4.386 billion in sales, a 0.9% increase from the year prior when the company made $4.348 billion. Edwards previously grew 16.8% from 2018 to 2019, logging $3.7 billion in sales in 2018.
Edwards LifeSciences paused enrollments in its pivotal mitral, tricuspid trials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for hospital systems to reallocate resources to potential surges in the coronavirus. Despite the halt, Edwards spent $760.7 million on research and development last year, representing a 1.1% growth from 2019 when it spent $752.7 million on R&D. In comparison, the company’s R&D spending rose 21% from 2018 to 2019 when there wasn’t a global pandemic to contend with.
“Structural heart patients were severely impacted beginning in March, experiencing significant difficulties entering the system, which also had a profound impact on second-quarter procedures, and even though healthcare systems adapted to the challenge, the resurgence of COVID that began late in the year continues to impact structural heart patients, who need care,” CEO Michael Mussallem said during an earnings call transcribed by The Motley Fool. “We continue to invest in developing solutions that extend lives, improve the quality of life and offer greater value for the healthcare system.”
Edwards Lifesciences also employed 900 more people during the year of COVID-19, bringing its total employment to 14,900 to represent a 6.4% year-over-year growth from 2019. The hiring isn’t too far off from how the company trended in the past. Between 2018 and 2019, the company employed 1,200 more people to represent a 9.4% growth in its employee count.
Throughout 2020, Edwards reached numerous regulatory milestones for its TAVR and heart valve technologies. The company won EU approval in May for its Pascal transcatheter valve repair system for tricuspid repair. It also won FDA approval for its Konect Resilia aortic valve conduit for complex aortic valve surgeries.
“We celebrated some exciting milestones in 2020 that directly impacted patients. In TAVR, despite headwinds, more than 100,000 patients benefited from treatment with Sapien valves worldwide. In surgical structural heart, we launched our Konect aortic valved conduit and Inspiris became the leading aortic surgical valve worldwide,” Mussallem said. “We’ve seen early positive clinical evidence across the TMTT platform, physician feedback is encouraging and patient outcomes have been distinguished. And in critical care, we met the increased demand for core pressure monitoring products due to the pandemic, and we’re proud that we were able to help over 1 million patients globally with our monitoring technology.”