Medical technology stocks boasted steady, strong growth last year, and according to analysts, this trend is predicted to continue on its course through 2014. Sales are expected to bounce up 4.2 percent, up .8 percent from the preceding year. This appears to only be the beginning for the industry, though, as further acceleration is forecasted for 2015. The spike of growth stems from new mergers and acquisitions among small and mid-sized companies as well as a wave of innovation with the debut of new products, especially cardiovascular devices.

Major medtech players like Medtronic and St. Jude Medical will be leading the pack among large-cap companies, say analysts. Medtronic looks to the highly anticipated launch of its transcatheter valve system in the United States. The Minneapolis-based company also expects to profit greatly from its “Symplicity” renal denervation system, a novel type of therapy for patients with treatment-resistant hypertension.

St. Jude’s growing market share hinges on the expected success of new medical devices. First, the company is awaiting FDA approval of its Cardio microelectromechanical (MEMS) technology, a type of wireless communication platform designed to be implanted into the human body. Also on deck is the release of the leadless pacemaker in the European Union, a potentially revolutionary product that comes from one of St. Jude’s newly acquired subsidiaries, Nanostim.

Optimism isn’t ubiquitous across all medtech companies, however. Edwards Lifesciences may be put through the ringer this year, as its “Sapien” transcatheter aortic valve replacement system had a less-than-stellar showing on the commercial stage. Medtronic continues to gobble up Edwards’ market share as well, turning what was once a monopoly into a veritable intra-industry duel.

Much has changed since the bottom fell out of the market in 2008. Optimism, investments and R&D are in no short supply these days, and fresh, inventive life-saving technology is anything but scarce.

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