J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Geoff Martha Kevin Sayer Joaquin Duato
Medtronic’s Geoff Martha, Dexcom’s Kevin Sayer and J&J’s Joaquin Duato spoke at this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Some of the biggest names in medtech came together this week at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. They shared updates on financial progress, operational changes and new products, among other things.

Medtronic shared details on plans to restore earnings power, while Abbott highlighted the success of its FreeStyle Libre system. Shockwave Medical outlined its plans for growth, while Dexom

Here are some of the biggest stories to come out of this year’s edition of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Medtronic focuses on earnings power while shifting operational setup

Medtronic Chair and CEO Geoff Martha’s presentation centered on profits for the medtech giant.

“Our top priority is restoring our earnings power — full stop,” he said. “We continue to be this mission-driven company that you know Medtronic to be, and our customers and patients know Medtronic to be, but at the same time, performance-driven. You’ve got to be both. It’s not one without the other: no margin, no mission.”

Martha also highlighted cardiac ablation, diabetes and structural heart as the company’s highest-growth opportunities. That includes pulsed field ablation, automated insulin delivery and TAVR, among other offerings.

Additionally, Martha announced the creation of the Medtronic AI Center of Excellence. It marks an effort to leverage common artificial intelligence platforms across the company’s portfolio like Medtronic Endoscopy’s GI Genius.

Ultimately, executives are bullish about the future at Medtronic.

“We’re feeling really good. … It all starts with innovation and growth and having a $32 billion revenue company growing mid-single digits, powered by innovation. I think that’s a pretty good thing,” Martha said. “We believe that growth is durable and we’re driving the earnings power.”

Martha also offered details of Medtronic’s efforts to leverage its buying power and improve efficiency, including news about manufacturing site closures, distribution center consolidations and other operations and supply chain initiatives.

Abbott touts its continuous glucose monitor as ‘most successful medtech product’

In CEO Robert Ford’s presentation, transcribed by SeekingAlpha, he highlighted the success of the company’s key diabetes offering, the FreeStyle Libre CGM.

“Abbott has a long-established presence in diabetes care,” Ford said. “Our market-leading continuous glucose monitoring device, FreeStyle Libre has fundamentally changed the management of diabetes.”

Ford added: “Libre is definitely the most successful medtech product in history, at least in terms of revenue.”

The company targeted the mass market, he said, reaching more than 5 million people who now use Libre around the world. That includes 2 million in the U.S. And, Ford still sees opportunity in this area, as he did last year.

“We have just begun to scratch the surface and there are several new growth opportunities for us on the horizon.”

Medicare reimbursement and other broadened coverage only helps, Ford said, while the company also now has Libre connecting to automated insulin pumps.

Shockwave expects product launches to fuel growth

Shockwave Medical is a company that has garnered a lot of interest over the past year or two, with some major medtech companies rumored to be circling on the acquisition front. While that hasn’t come to fruition, the company continues to innovate and grow.

In a presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Shockwave President and CEO Doug Godshall explained where the company’s priorities lie as it looks to continue its growth into 2024 and beyond.

“At Shockwave, we are on a mission to establish ourselves as the premier medtech growth company by transforming treatment of poorly served patient populations with paradigm-changing technologies,” Godshall said. “We have in front of us a $14 billion opportunity. We look to simplify procedures, optimize outcomes and validate our technologies through clinical evidence generation.

“We’re really enthusiastic about the future and love the opportunity in front of us.”

At the heart of Godshall’s presentation was product launches. The company now expects to launch two or three products per year, while also committing to global expansion efforts.

“We’ll continue to kick out new products that will enable us to maintain growth for the end of the decade,” Godshall said. “How are we going to keep growing? We’re going to increase penetration with new products expand the treatable pool of populations, continue to improve customer economics. We will invest in clinical data.”

“I’m thrilled with the quality of the team members we have on board and the caliber of the folks that we have been adding as as time has gone by.”

Dexcom’s new sensor

Dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer at J.P. Morgan unveiled the company’s newest product: the Stelo sensor.

The company designed Stelo specifically for people with type 2 diabetes who do not use insulin. Stelo has a 15-day wear time with a cash-pay option. It features a software experience tailored specifically for non-insulin users.

“Our mission is to empower people to control health and this is the first step along that journey,” Sayer told Drug Delivery Business News. We’ll always be very active in the insulin-using world. That is our core business. Those are our core customers and, really, the people that have gone with us this on this journey. We’re never going to abandon that.

“We’ll continue to advance and enhance our technologies here but we just think glucose can be such a vital sign for other people wanting to control their health.”

The company expects to launch Stelo in the U.S. in the summer of 2024.

“Understanding glucose levels is key to unlocking our metabolic health, and Stelo will help users see first-hand how their health is affected by factors such as diet, exercise, sleep and stress,” said Jake Leach, Dexcom EVP and COO, during the company’s preliminary earnings announcement yesterday. “Through our expanding product portfolio, Dexcom is defining the future of sensing technology and empowering people to take control of health.”

Johnson & Johnson MedTech highlights growth through M&A

It’s been an interesting year for Johnson & Johnson MedTech as the unit begins a new era under new leadership. Longtime J&J MedTech Chair Ashley McEvoy announced her resignation in October, with Tim Schmid taking over the reins.

Still, the company reports significant progress, as CEO Joaquin Duato outlined at J.P. Morgan. In his presentation, transcribed by SeekingAlpha, Duato pointed out some of the major recent development timelines at J&J. That includes the much-anticipated Ottava surgical robot. Last fall, the company said it plans to submit Ottava for FDA investigational device exemption (IDE) this year.

Duato also highlighted progress on pulsed field ablation, with the company completing a study for its Varipulse catheter. Last month, at an Investor Day event, Duato outlined how he expects new products to fuel growth at the company.

The recent acquisition of Laminar propels J&J into the left atrial appendage device market as well.