ShockWave Medical (SWAV -0.35%), a medical device company focused on treating cardiovascular disease, reported its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday.

This was ShockWave's first earnings report since hitting the public markets in March, so the pressure was on for the company to deliver. It posted impressive revenue growth of 450% during the quarter, albeit off of a small base. Management stated that product adoption was strong both in the U.S. and in international markets.

Expenses are ramping quickly as it works to build out its commercial team and expand its pipeline, but that's to be expected since the company is currently in hypergrowth mode. 

ShockWave Medical's first quarter: The raw numbers


Q1 2019

Q1 2018

Year-Over-Year  Growth


$7.3 million

$1.3 million


Net income (loss)

($12.8 million)

($9.6 million)


Earnings per share




Data source: ShockWave Medical.

What happened with ShockWave this quarter

  • The top-line gain was driven by increased adoption of the company's products in both the U.S. and international markets. Revenue was split evenly between the two geographies.
  • ShockWave's products target two main indications: peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is a narrowing of vessels that carry blood from the heart to the extremities, and coronary artery disease (CAD), which is the narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. PAD products accounted for $4.4 million of total revenue during the quarter; CAD products accounted for $2.7 million of total revenue. It is important to note that CAD products are currently only available for sale in international markets. Management hopes to gain Food and Drug Administration approval to treat CAD indications in the U.S. in the first half of 2021.
  • Gross margin expanded 180 basis points to 58% on the sales leverage.
  • Operating expenses grew 58% to $16.4 million. Management is currently investing heavily in its commercial expansion and clinical pipeline.
  • Net loss was $12.8 million, or $1.37 per share.
  • Its cash balance was $138 million at quarter end. This figure includes the $100 million cash injection from the completion of its IPO and a private placement offering to Abiomed of $10 million.
Man holding a model of a heart

Image source: Getty Images.

What management had to say

CEO Doug Godshall was pleased with the company's first report as a public company: "We are encouraged by the balanced nature of our U.S. and International results this quarter as our global, multi-vessel strategy begins to unfold. Our first-quarter accomplishments begin to demonstrate the unique solution [intravascular lithotripsy] provides for our customers and our team's ability to manage both growth and execution throughout the organization, which we believe will be critical to our success as we move forward."

On the conference call with Wall Street, Godshall also talked up the company's partnership with Abiomed:

The profound and obvious benefit of using ShockWave to facilitate femoral access has really caught the attention of our customers and has emerged as an important sales strategy to accelerate customer acquisition. Abiomed also took note of this last year, which helped motivate their investment in ShockWave and led to the partnership in sales and training that we are in the process of rolling out presently. We have started to witness an increasing number of Shock-Impella cases where ShockWave opens the iliac for Impella delivery, and the keep cases have gone extremely well thus far, which is a great thing for the patients who are able to avoid surgery and receive the Impella they needed.

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for ShockWave.

Looking forward

Management provided investors with an initial look at revenue guidance for the full year. Total sales are expected to land between $33 million and $36 million, which represents growth of 169% to 194% over the prior year. Wall Street was expecting full-year sales of only about $31 million, so ShockWave's stock rocketed higher in response to the news.

Godshall ended his prepared remarks on the investor call by stating that the company is well positioned for rapid growth: 

I'm confident that we have the fundamental pieces in place that will enable us to sustain our momentum. We have an innovative technology with solid clinical results, we're addressing a large unmet need, and we have a driven team that is poised to execute as we grow. We will continue focusing on delivering the positive clinical outcomes we have witnessed to date and building on the organizational momentum that we have seen in our first quarter as a public company.