Abbott Laboratories (ABT) recently received some good news when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its new in vitro diagnostic test that will help diagnose patients suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). CLL refers to a cancer of the lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are white blood cells that aid in combating infections.
The Vysis CLL FISH (fluorescence in-situ hybridization) Probe Kit at Abbott detects genetic abnormalities in lymphocytes. Abnormal lymphocytes, produced in patients suffering from CLL, have the potential to weaken the body's immune system since they build up in the circulatory system and affect the functioning of the cells.
CLL is the most serious type of cancer prevalent in the US. The cancer affects in excess of 15,000 patients in the US annually. Approximately 50% of the affected population stands the risk of faster disease progression. Abbott’s genetic test has the potential to aid disease prognosis accurately by identifying patients suffering from early-stage CLL. The probability of the cancer progressing further is very high in these patients.
Abbott also recently announced that as it has obtained the European CE mark for its Healon EndoCoat Protective Gel for cataract operation, thus expanding its Healon family of ophthalmic viscosurgical devices (OVDs).
The OVD which is marketed in Europe, Canada and New Zealand, is intended as a surgical aid in extracting cataract, implantation of intraocular lens, transplantation of cornea in addition to glaucoma filtration surgery. CE marking refers to a mandatory conformity mark for products marketed in the European Economic Area (EEA).
Our Recommendation
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Abbott Labs. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank in the short-run that translates into a Hold rating.


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