he life sciences sector continues to grow in Ireland, where the industry generated more than €53 billion in exports in 2009 and directly employed more than 52,000 people, according to government statistics. Industry officials convened the first-ever Life Sciences International Summit in November to discuss the sector's future growth.
Ireland logged several life sciences project announcements as 2010 drew to a close, including two significant expansions by medical device companies. Zeus, Inc., an Orangeburg, S.C.-based global manufacturer in the material science and high-performance polymer extrusion sectors, plans to invest €10 million (U.S$13.5 million) in a 40,000 sq.-ft. (3,716-sq.-m.) expansion at its facility in Letterkenny, located in County Donegal far to the north, just west of Londonderry/Derry, U.K. This expansion will result in the creation of 75 new manufacturing jobs within the next 3 years.
"Since we opened a facility in Ireland in 2005, we have seen tremendous growth in our European customer base," said Zeus CEO John Worley Jr. "We are extremely excited about this expansion as we will be even more equipped to meet the demand for our products and services in this region."
Zeus' core business is the development and precision extrusion of advanced polymeric materials.
Goodman Medical Ireland Ltd. (GMIL), a Galway, Ireland-based division of Goodman Co., Ltd., Of Nagoya, Japan, plans to create up to 115 jobs over five years at its facility in Mervue Business Park. Goodman Co., Ltd., manufactures and sells medical instruments and equipment worldwide. GMIL was established in 2004 and currently employs 56 people in the manufacture of such products as PTCA catheters and bare metal stents. The expansion will transform GMIL's business by adding to its manufacturing and R&D operations and becoming Goodman's sales and marketing center for EMEA by generating market data, developing territory sales strategies and managing distributors and sales-related activities.
"We are excited to announce our expansion plans to meet anticipated long-term demand for our products worldwide," said Takehito Yogo, president of Goodman Co., Ltd. "We chose the Galway operation for our future growth and development due to our dedicated and proactive work force, the support of IDA Ireland, our strong supplier network and the positive experiences we have had of doing business in Ireland since 2004."
U.S.-based medical device company Merit Medical is investing €6.7 million (U.S.$9 million) to expand its operation in Galway with the creation of 100 new jobs. The expansion will involve Merit entering into the surgical pre-pack business in Europe and will establish Galway as the European center of Merit's operations. Merit Medical Ireland Limited (MMIL) set up in Galway in 1994 manufacturing guide wires and inflation devices used in hospitals worldwide. The company has been involved in R&D since 1997.
"Merit currently employs 250 people in Galway, and when it was decided to venture into the surgical pre-pack market in Europe a number of location options were considered," said Fred P. Lampropoulos, Merit's chairman and CEO. "The success of Merit's established operation in Ireland and the skill set of the existing Irish management team made Ireland Merit's location of choice."
Ireland's northwest received a boost in October when Elanco Animal Health announced an ongoing commitment to its recently acquired animal vaccine plant in Sligo.
"Elanco has also set up a new vaccine research and development team incorporating some of the best talent in the business with excellent track records in vaccine innovation and registrations in the EU and other parts of the world," said Dr. Stephen Chu, Elanco's research fellow. "This team will provide full support to our Sligo plant in the areas of product innovation and new product introductions. Additionally this R&D team will seek opportunities to collaborate with partners in Ireland. Elanco is committed to the long-term success of the Sligo plant and the growth of our vaccine business in the EU."
Elanco, owned by Eli Lilly, currently employs 120 at the Sligo operation.