Abbott's Xience enters tough stent market

FDA has given its final blessing to Abbott's Xience stent. Now what? Well, the drug-and-device maker will be entering a tough market, one roiled by debates over safety and questions about whether stents should be used as often has they have been.

The overall stent market has shrunk by almost half: From a high of more than $3 billion, sales are now expected to fall below $1.7 billion next year. And drug-coated stents like Xience account for a smaller proportion of those sales than they once did because of clotting worries. The popular products had made up 85 percent of stent sales; now that fraction is 65 to 70 percent.

But still, the debut of Xience is expected to boost Abbott sales; analysts predict that it could generate more than $500 million annually, more than the current market-leading stent, Boston Scientific's Taxus product.

- see Abbott's release
- read the Chicago Tribune article