Increasingly, technologies other than drugs are working to improve patient health. From diagnostic systems like MRIs and CAT scans to high-tech glucose monitoring systems to devices that destroy tumors, medicine makes use of many such technologies. Companies that develop technologies for the healthcare sector are referred to as healthtech companies. In this column, I will provide information about three of the best healthtech stocks available, focusing on companies that have developed non-drug technologies to combat or diagnose diseases.
Another major trend in medicine is digital health. According to the FDA, “digital health technologies use computing platforms, connectivity, software, and sensors for health care and related uses.”
The three names that I will discuss are also digital health stocks.
Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is one of the world’s top medical device makers.
In the last 18 months, the company has launched a number of new, very promising products. On May 1, the FDA approved two of MDT’s “leadless pacemakers,” called Micra AV2 and Micra VR2. According to the company, the devices are “the world’s smallest pacemakers, provide longer battery life and easier programming than prior Micra pacemakers, while still delivering the many benefits of leadless pacing such as reduced complications compared to traditional pacemakers.” Given these devices’ many important, competitive advantages, they should boost MDT’s financial results going forward.
Moreover, as I noted in a previous column, the company has launched “a robot that helps perform surgeries” using artificial intelligence. Speaking to an analyst on March 10, MDT CFO Karen Parkhill said that Hugo is “going to be a strong contributor to our revenue growth for many years to come. ”
Also likely to boost Medtronic are a few moves by Washington on the diabetes front. First, the FDA last month eliminated restrictions that it had imposed on MDT’s insulin pumps. Secondly, the agency approved the company’s new insulin pump.
Finally, Medtronic, which markets continuous glucose-monitoring systems, should be boosted by a recent decision by Medicare to cover the cost of such systems for some diabetes patients who don’t receive daily insulin injections.
Dexcom’s (NASDAQ:DXCM) main business is marketing continuous glucose monitors, including its Dexcom G7, which “delivers real-time glucose numbers to [patients’] smartphone[s].”
As a result, Dexcom should benefit from Medicare’s recent decision “to cover the cost of such systems for some diabetes patients who don’t receive daily insulin injections.”
Indeed, the company cited the new coverage rules, along with its strong first-quarter results, as the reasons for its decision to raise its 2023 sales guidance on April 27. Specifically, DXCM increased its full-year top-line outlook to $3.4 billion to $3.52 billion from $3.35 billion to $3.49 billion. Given how widespread diabetes is and the importance of Medicare coverage for selling devices, I think that the guidance will probably end up being conservative.
In Q1, Dexcom’s top line climbed 18% year over year to $741.5 million, while its operating income, excluding some items, increased 2.6 percentage points YOY.
UBS responded to the Q1 results by increasing its price target on the shares to $150 from $142 while keeping a “buy” rating on the name. The bank expects the company to deliver “beat and raise” quarterly results “throughout the year.”
GE HealthCare Technologies (GEHC)
GE Healthcare (NASDAQ:GEHC) spun off from General Electric (NYSE:GE) in January. GE Healthcare is “a leading manufacturer and distributor of diagnostic imaging agents and radiopharmaceuticals.” Among its top products are CT machines, MRIs, ultrasounds and mammograms. The company also sells many digital tools that help manage its leading products.
On April 25, GEHC reported that its top line had climbed an impressive 12% year over year, excluding acquisitions and divestments, while its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes climbed to $664 million from $599 million. Moreover, the company reported that it expects its earnings per share, excluding some items, to climb 7% to 11% this year to $3.60-$3.75.
Before GEHC reported its results, investment bank Piper Sandler on April 20 started coverage of the name with a $95 price target and an “overweight” rating. The bank noted that the company had a large backlog of $14 billion, and thinks that it will be able to introduce significant new products after it raised its investment in R&D.
On the technology front, the company recently launched a system “designed to deliver high-performance ultrasound guidance” for multiple types of surgeries. And GEHC received an award from research firm MedTech Breakthrough for a “Best New Ultrasound Technology Solution.” Both pieces of news bode well for GEHC’s outlook as they suggest that the company is indeed on the cutting edge of medtech and an excellent healthtech stock to buy.
As of the date of publication, Larry Ramer owned shares of GE. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.