Edwards Lifesciences to create 600 jobs in Shannon

Medical equipment company plans €80 million investment in new plant

The  new Edwards Lifesciences plant in Shannon, due to be operational in 2020, will be the company’s largest manufacturing investment in the EU. Photograph: iStock

The new Edwards Lifesciences plant in Shannon, due to be operational in 2020, will be the company’s largest manufacturing investment in the EU. Photograph: iStock

 

Fast-growing US medtech group Edwards Lifesciences will invest €80 million in the midwest, building its first Irish plant.

The plant, due to be operational in 2020, will be the company’s largest manufacturing investment in the European Union. When complete it will employ 600 people.

Joe Nuzzolese, group vice-president in charge of global supply chain, said the company was currently looking at a couple of sites in the Shannon/Limerick area with a view to making a final decision in the next few months..

Until then, Edwards, which focuses on structural heart disease and surgical valve technology, has selected an existing site in the Shannon Free Zone from which to operate later this year. It announced on Monday that it is looking to hire 60 people from June.

Edwards Lifesciences has reported annual revenue growth in the mid to high teens in the past couple of years, a multiple of the average for the medtech sector. It is among the top 30 global players in medical devices.

Minimally invasive

The Irish plant will supply parts for the technology to deliver its heart valves by catheter in minimally invasive surgical procedures.

Mr Nuzzolese said one of the first products to be delivered by the new Irish manufacturing base would be a product recently acquired by the company. Edwards acquired a US medical device start-up called Harpoon in a $100 million deal last December. It has been developing a device that will be less invasive even than current valve-replacement technologies, leading to shorter operations and shorter recovery periods for patients.

“The addition of a manufacturing location in Ireland is an element of Edwards’s global supply strategy to support future growth and reliability of supply, and continues the growth in employment Edwards has experienced both in the United States and around the world,” said Mr Nuzzolese.

Although Edwards is new to Ireland, Mr Nuzzolese said he was very familiar with the country from his time in a previous European role with medtech giant Johnson & Johnson.

“Choosing this location included many considerations, but an important one is a talented workforce with experience in medical technology,” he added.

“Ireland we see as a great opportunity. The midwest is a great area,” he said, also highlighting local infrastructure and the sector’s strong connections with the University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology.

IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan said the decision “further enhances Ireland’s reputation as a preferred location for leading companies in the life sciences sector”.