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Baxter Supports Findings of Ongoing COVID-19 Nutrition Study

Zacks Equity Research
·4 min read

Baxter International Inc BAX recently announced its support to interim findings of an ongoing prospective study which highlights the role of indirect calorimetry (IC) in enhancing the precision of measuring COVID-19 patients' nutritional needs during their intensive care unit (ICU) stay. Notably, the name of the study is Persistent Hypermetabolism and Longitudinal Energy Expenditure in Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19 (LEEP-COVID).

This is expected to boost Baxter’s Clinical Nutrition business.

More on the Study Results

The study, supported by Baxter through an investigator-initiated grant, is the first analysis of longitudinal resting energy expenditure (REE) in critically ill, mechanically-ventilated COVID-19 patients. The interim findings of 22 U.S. patients studied over 21 days suggest that predictive equations, which are commonly used to estimate patients' nutritional needs, are largely inaccurate for this patient population.

The authors observed progressive hypermetabolism and significant variation in REE over the span of patients' stay in the ICU, thereby pointing out that dependence on predictive equations could lead to under-feeding of COVID-19 patients, especially later in their ICU stay. This is crucial because not much is known with respect to nutritional needs of critically-ill COVID-19 patients. Also, past studies of ICU patients have associated over- and under-feeding with poor outcomes, including mortality.

This first-of-its-kind study is able to demonstrate the role of the novel Q-NRG+ IC technology in offering personalized nutrition care to this COVID-19 patient population.

Notably, the study's findings are in line with previously-published literature on the importance of assessing patients' nutritional needs and customizing nutrition therapy over the span of a patient's hospitalization, as REE changes during this time.

For investors’ notice, in collaboration with COSMED SRL, Baxter launched Q-NRG+, a metabolic monitor device leveraging IC technology, in the United States earlier this year. IC is regarded the "gold standard" when evaluating a patient's calorie needs, or REE. These readings can help inform administration of nutrition therapy, which may comprise parenteral nutrition (PN), the intravenous administration of nutrients. 


Market Prospects

Per a report by Grand View Research, the global PN market was valued at $5.3 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to witness a CAGR of 5.8% over the forecast period (2019-2026).

Notable Developments

In September, Baxter announced the receipt of FDA approval of new formulations of Clinimix (amino acids in dextrose) Injections and Clinimix E (amino acids with electrolytes in dextrose and calcium) Injections. These new formulations offer up to 60% more protein (amino acid) compared to current Clinimix formulations, while delivering less dextrose. This approval is likely to provide a boost to Baxter’s Clinical Nutrition portfolio.

In July, the company inked a deal with VIPUN Medical — a company developing technology solutions to help improve medical nutrition — to commercialize the VIPUN Gastric Monitoring System. Per the agreement, Baxter will provide support to clinical studies necessary to achieve regulatory approval in key markets globally and attain worldwide distribution rights. Notably, the VIPUN Gastric Monitoring System will become an important addition to Baxter’s nutrition portfolio, thereby boosting its Clinical Nutrition business.

Price Performance

Over the past year, shares of this company have lost 7.2% against the industry’s growth of 7.2%.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Baxter currently holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). 

A few better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space include Boston Scientific BSX, DaVita DVA and Thermo Fisher Scientific TMO.

Boston Scientific’s long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 10%. The company  presently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

DaVita’s long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 11.9%. The company presently carries a Zacks Rank #1.

Thermo Fisher’s long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 15.5%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #1.

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