Boston Scientific invests €91m in R&D for Galway


24 Jun 2009

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It is a little known fact that Galway boasts the second highest concentration of medical device companies in the world, outside of Minnesota. A €91m R&D investment by Boston Scientific, which will result in 45 high-calibre jobs, confirms the region’s status as a leading global location for medical device firms.

Boston Scientific Corporation Inc (BSC), which specialises in medical devices for use in minimally invasive surgical procedures, is to invest a further €91m in a research, development and innovation (RD&I) initiative at its site in Galway, with the support of IDA Ireland.

The investment, which will create 45 high-calibre jobs, was announced this morning by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD.

This significant investment will enable BSC Galway to take a major step up in technology, scale and technical innovation for RD&I at the site.

It will move BSC Galway’s R&D from late-stage development to an earlier, innovative stage, requiring the development of new competencies and skill sets to deepen the facility’s technology capabilities so that it can create new, pioneering technology.

“Boston Scientific employs approximately 5,000 people in Ireland, 3,000 of whom are located in Galway,” the Tánaiste explained.

“This investment by BSC, a renowned global corporation and a reference life sciences company in Ireland, is an enormous boost of confidence in Ireland’s RD&I abilities.

“It elevates this country to an elite position among world locations with the capability to support next-generation research and innovation.

“The sheer scale, high complexity and critical strategic importance of this project to a global company of the calibre of BSC will further increase the focus of international foreign direct investors on Ireland, for both RD&I and for projects from all sectors.”

This investment at the Galway facility is closely aligned to BSC’s corporate strategy, which is to build a robust pipeline of RD&I projects across all of its businesses, designed to maintain and grow its current market leadership positions and generate strong future revenue streams.

In 2009, BSC estimates that over a third of its revenue will come from new product introductions.

“The performance and success of our Galway site, the high calibre of talented people in Ireland and the country’s commitment to RD&I, particularly through the innovative approaches of both the Government and IDA Ireland, gave us confidence that this was the correct setting for this important investment,” said Hank Kucheman, Boston Scientific senior vice-president and group president, Cardiovascular.

“We deeply appreciate the support of IDA Ireland for this project. Our activities in Ireland strengthen our company globally by ensuring the continued highest levels of innovation, manufacturing and value creation for patients, physicians, employees and shareholders,” Kucheman added.

The story of Galway’s medical devices cluster is one worth noting. In 1992, the region was devastated by the news that Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) would be closing with the loss of up to 1,000 jobs.

Within three years, however, many of the executives who worked at DEC showed entrepreneurial flair, establishing software and medical devices companies. Within three years, 60pc of the former DEC workforce were earning equivalent or higher salaries, and today Galway has the second largest medical devices cluster on the planet.

There are now in excess of 130 medical devices companies in Ireland employing 26,000 people and exporting over €6bn worth of good and intellectual property per annum.

By John Kennedy