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Becton Dickinson CEO: Q2 ‘was another quarter of exceeding expectations’

Becton, Dickinson and Company CEO and President Tom Polen joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss company earnings, growth opportunities in the home test kit market, biotech drugs, strong demand in the weight loss market, and the outlook for Becton Dickinson.

Video transcript

- During the pandemic, many at home got comfortable during medical testing in their own homes. But with COVID-19 in the rearview, what's next for multinational medtech company Becton Dickinson? It manufactures and sells a wide range of products from catheter systems to anatomical mesh and also at-home test kits.

Here to discuss on the heels of BD's Q2 report is Tom Polen, BD Chairman, CEO, and President who is joined by Yahoo Finance senior reporter Anjalee Khemlani. Good to have you on the show here. So Tom, first break down for us this quarter and really what your expectations were going in.


TOM POLEN: This was another quarter of exceeding expectations driven by strong demand across our portfolio. We saw hospitals really back in business with elective procedures. We saw strong demand for a lot of our automation solutions, things like pharmacy automation that you can't find pharmacists, or you want pharmacists up front helping to do wellness checks, et cetera for patients, are adopting our automation and putting that in place.

And then we're seeing strong demand for our research solutions, where people are really uncovering new secrets of the immune system to develop new drugs for fighting cancer. And some of our technologies are used right in the forefront of that research, so a very strong demand there. So really this quarter, represented just strong growth across our broad portfolio.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Tom, Anjalee here. I know that you did a lot of expansion during the COVID times, specifically for syringes and injectables. I know there's a lot going on in that market right now, broadly speaking. So for the prefilled syringes for the COVID vaccines and then on the flip side, we've got a lot of interest in injectables right now with the weight loss market. Talk to me about the impact on BD from both.

TOM POLEN: Yeah. So we're really proud that during the COVID pandemic, we scaled up our production to produce an extra 2 billion syringes just to deliver COVID vaccines. So 2 billion doses of COVID vaccines delivered around the world with our products, and we were proud of supporting the pandemic response then. Today, we see strong demand, 11 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in our refillable syringe market, which as you mentioned, are used for a lot of biotech drugs.

Today, the first time ever, biotech drugs are-- there's more biotech drugs in the pipeline than there are small molecule drugs, and almost all biotech drugs are delivered via injection, which we're the market leader in. And so we don't disclose specific customers that we have, but we are by far the world leader, and that strong pipeline of new molecules that are coming out for conditions like weight loss, but also cancer treatment and other chronic diseases. We're seeing strong demand from our customers in these categories.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Good to hear. Talk to me about the COVID testing. I know that there are point-of-care solutions like Veritor, but we see increasing comfort with at-home testing from the consumer base. Have you thought about increasing in that market? Is that part of the strategy where you're already looking at wearables and the like? You already understand-- meaning the customer.

TOM POLEN: Absolutely. So first off, it's a great thing that COVID testing is going down. That's a big positive for the world. What we saw is that as you mentioned, Veritor and our MAX molecular platform, we saw strong placements of those systems for COVID testing. As COVID testing is going down, what's happening is people are beginning to use those platforms to accelerate other types of testing, and so we're seeing strong utilization of those systems for doing things like cancer screening, for cervical cancer, for GI infections, for vaginitis. And so those platforms that were invested in during COVID are benefiting patients in other ways today as customers are utilizing that more advanced technology to benefit patients.

When it comes to moving care into the home, that's one of the most significant areas of investment that we're making today. And not just testing, but also solutions that are treating chronic conditions like urinary incontinence. Actually just this past quarter, we submitted a new product to the FDA that is aimed at allowing blood to be collected, not through a venipuncture, but by a capillary fingerstick that could enable blood to be collected, for example, in your retail clinic. And eventually, for you to collect your own blood at home is our aim. And so we see a lot of enabling technologies that are going to continue to move care that may have traditionally been done in a professional setting to be enabled to happen in the home, whether or not that's testing or blood collection or even broader chronic disease management.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: And as we sort of been moving past this emergency phase of COVID, do you expect COVID testing to become seasonal? What does the new normal look like in that space?

TOM POLEN: We do, actually. Our main product is a combination product that tests for flu and COVID all in one test. Because on a go-forward basis, we think the question that someone's going to ask is, I have respiratory symptoms. I have a cold-like symptoms? Do I have the flu or do I have COVID? And so that combination test is going to be what matters.

And so we've launched that in the professional setting. We've been doing work to see can we bring that test into the home care setting, which doesn't exist, really today in a rapid test format. And so, absolutely.

You're seeing more and more types of tests come to market. People have strep throat tests that they're aiming to bring into the home as well. There'll be many, many more types of diagnostics that you will be able to do in the home in the years ahead.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: How does that market compare to the comeback we've seen in surgery and in other clinical settings? Because I know that's a large portion of your pipeline, so talk to me about that versus this focus on more point-of-care, at-home, the like.

TOM POLEN: Yeah. That's another major area that we're focused on are those technologies for the hospital as well. And as you said, what we're seeing is there was major labor shortages during the pandemic in hospitals. Hospitals have found ways to advance that. And so you're seeing backlogs of procedures starting to work their way through the system. And so you're seeing not just BD, but many medical technology companies with increased procedure volumes coming through over the last quarter as those procedures are moving things.

You're seeing it in orthopedics. You're seeing it in hernia procedures. You're seeing it in peripheral vascular procedures. People are able to get procedures that have been backlogged during the pandemic. They're getting them done today, and we would expect that's going to continue here certainly for the near-term.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: We'll certainly be tracking that. We do appreciate you joining us this morning. Tom Polen, BD CEO and Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani. Thanks so much.