Why medical device companies are investing in Ireland

ByLance T. Lee

Nov 21, 2022

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[Image from Ainars Djatlevskis on Unsplash]

The Foreign Direct Investment Agency for Ireland has some of the biggest names in medical technology investing in the country.

In recent years, a number of major medical technology companies have celebrated anniversaries. Abbott was 70, Medtronic 40, and Boston Scientific 25.

This is how long these companies have been operating in Ireland.

Gerard Kilcommins, Medtronic’s vice president for global manufacturing, vascular therapies and implants and country manager in Ireland, said in a report earlier this year that its 40th anniversary represents “an important milestone” in the company’s history. ‘company.

“Our sites in Ireland have played an important role in Medtronic’s evolution from medical device maker to global health technology leader,” Kilcommins said in July.

Each of these three companies, along with many other big names in medical technology, choose Ireland for a wide range of investments. IDA Ireland – the foreign investment arm of the Irish government – ​​aims to attract these businesses and help them grow in the country.

“We are creating sustainable and successful long-term jobs and investment in Ireland,” said Rachel Shelly, Head of Medical Technology at IDA Ireland. mass device. “We have been working with multinationals for a very long time. As a first step, we encourage them to come and settle in Ireland, and after that it helps them to really grow, build and transform their operations over time.

In total, IDA Ireland supports around 1,600 multinational companies which actually employ around 275,000 people. A third of these companies have been in Ireland for over 20 years.

Investments in medical technology in Ireland have exploded

Medical device companies have been fierce in their Irish investments of late. Recent examples include:

Why Ireland?

Shelly outlined a few reasons for choosing Ireland. This includes its track record, talent pool, and an open economy and ecosystem.

Anniversaries celebrated by Abbott, Medtronic and Boston Scientific underscore the success of their Irish operations, she explained.

“It gives companies a huge amount of comfort when they create an Ireland – that they are in a very reliable place with very good knowledge and very good performance, especially because it is a highly regulated industry,” said said Shelly.

Shelly called the Irish education system “probably one of the best in Europe”. Associated with a young population, she said there was a constant flow of new talent arriving.

When announcing the expansion of a site in Ireland earlier this year, John Lynch, Plant Manager, J&J Vision Care Ireland, called it “an incredible opportunity to join a workforce diverse community of the best and brightest minds, delivering cutting-edge medical technology. that transform lives.

Moreover, the country’s open economy fosters this talent. A European citizen can live in Ireland without restriction, which means talent from all over Europe can join the local options. The country’s ecosystem also benefits from a strong base of local businesses and contractors. These businesses work closely with newcomers to Ireland, helping them access materials, services and supplies close to their operations.

Shelly said this ecosystem helps businesses get started quickly, then succeed and grow.

“That’s where we come in,” she said. “We partner with companies, and then we provide a lot of innovation support, a lot of scaling support, and really now more and more support around sustainability. So it’s really about helping businesses from a very practical point of view. To evolve, develop and develop what they do in Ireland.

The additional advantages of the economic configuration of the country

In a presentation at AdvaMed’s MedTech conference, Damien O’Brien, Vice President of Life Sciences at IDA Ireland, explained some of the government’s incentives to bring these companies to Ireland.

According to O’Brien, around $345 million was spent on R&D in the medical technology sector in Ireland in 2020. IDA provides its own incentives. Coupled with the Irish Government’s 25% R&D tax credit for companies engaged in in-house R&D, it is a big draw for companies coming to Ireland.

“Together with R&D tax credits and IDA R&D funding, this is a key strategic pillar of the Irish Government’s strategy to increase the level and quantity of research and development in course across the country,” O’Brien said.

Ireland’s top priorities are investing in digitalisation, supporting sustainable solutions and developing its R&D system. O’Brien pointed out that manufacturing is not the only area in which the country is increasing investment and services.

Additionally, the country is “consistently ranked year after year” as one of the easiest places to do business, he said. It is also considered one of the most competitive places to do so.

Ireland aims to be an outward looking country, he explained. It holds a commitment to the European Union, he said, and plans to continue that “long into the future”.

A long-standing point of attraction for Ireland is its relaxed corporate tax laws. Despite the changes underway, O’Brien said the country intends to maintain its 12.5% ​​rate for companies with total revenues of less than $750 million. He doesn’t see this as a barrier to securing new investment, as results from 2020 and 2021 demonstrated continued interest.

“Ireland continues to earn more than its fair share of investment in the medtech industry,” O’Brien said. “Corporation tax is just one pillar of Ireland’s value proposition for earning investments.”

Will companies continue to invest in the country?

Shelly said the country accumulated a lot of investment steadily over several years in the 1990s. It has remained steady since and Ireland’s record of first-time business start-ups speaks for itself , she noted.

However, a massive aspect of continued investment is reinvestment from companies that have already established operations in Ireland.

Another growth factor comes in the form of industry developments. COVID-19, in particular, has pushed medical technology towards digitization and smart manufacturing, Shelly said. At government level, IDA Ireland recognized this and decided to invest in a new state-of-the-art manufacturing centre. IDA Ireland wants the center to provide support to businesses in the manufacturing sector. This could help them adopt and accelerate new technologies.

Shelly said the World Economic Forum has named Depuy Synthes’ Cork plant a “global digital beacon”. ResMed represents another company working on next-gen technology in Ireland

“We’ve gone from a really strong location for devices and device manufacturing to a really strong location for medical technology in all its forms,” ​​Shelly said. “Let’s hope this continues.”

Shelly said other initiatives, including climate and sustainability action plans, are helping the country continue to attract business. The country will continue to seek all avenues to continue to attract the evolving medtech industry.

“It’s important for us to make sure we maintain a very pro-business and proactive business environment for businesses to come and stay and live and work,” Shelly said. “Our relationships with our customers are really important to really understand what the business needs are and to make sure that we feed all that back into the system so that we can respond to make sure that Ireland remains a very, very good place for companies. invest.”

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