Share price on Dec. 31, 2019: $86.84
Share price on Dec. 31, 2020: $109.49
Staying two steps ahead, the company began tracking the virus in China at the end of 2019 and into early 2020 and, by February, it had an internal meeting to discuss its plan of action as the rapid spread reached the U.S. and the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic in March.
“We knew this virus was different. The outcome was spreading across the globe,” Andrea Wainer, executive VP of rapid and molecular diagnostics at Abbott, said during a CES 2021 panel. “Diagnostic players were going to need to play a role.”
Abbott developed a number of laboratory-based COVID-19 tests but perhaps its most vital innovation over 2020 was its BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Card — a speedy antigen test for the virus that can be directly read off the testing card. BinaxNow received FDA emergency use authorization in August 2020 and soon was the subject of a number of federal government orders. Abbott most recently received EUA for virtually-guided, at-home use of the BinaxNow test.
The company’s diagnostic exploits led to Wall Street-beating quarterly performances, raised guidances and produced a 25% raised quarterly dividend, most recently.
In addition to its COVID-19-related production, Abbott remained on top in other spaces, with successes including:
- FDA 510(k) clearance for its rapid handheld traumatic brain injury (TBI) blood test.
- Multiple approvals for the FreeStyle Libre 2 continuous glucose monitor.
- 2020 Prix Galien USA Award for Best Medical Technology for its MitraClip system.
With the pandemic carrying over into 2021, Abbott’s diagnostic prowess will likely continue to be relied upon, as will its innovations across the medtech space.