Strong stent sales lead Abbott to Q3 double-digit gains

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Abbott Laboratories reported a 51 percent rise in third-quarter profit, citing double-digit sales increases for its pharmaceutical, medical device and nutritional product lines.

Earnings rose to $1.08 billion for the period, a steep uptick from $717 million posted in its fiscal third quarter last year. Sales rose almost 18 percent to $7.5 billion

The biggest sales drivers were Humira, an arthritis drug whose quarterly sales jumped 50 percent to $1.2 billion, and the Xience drug-coated stent that was launched in the United States during the quarter.

Total company stent sales more than doubled to $383 million.

Abbott Vascular achieved record sales of $636 million, driven by drug-eluting stent (DES) franchise sales of $305 million, which more than doubled sequentially from the second quarter, exceeding the company's previous guidance.

In light of the strong results, the firm has raised its guidance for the 2008 fiscal year to $3.31 - $3.33 per share (U.S.) from $3.24 - $3.28. Abbott's original guidance range for 2008, provided in January, was $3.20 - $3.25 per share.