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US med-tech company Edwards Lifesciences is investing €80 million in a 600-job facility at the National Technological Park, Limerick.

Headquartered in California, USA, and employing more than 12,000 people globally, Edwards Lifesciences is the global leader in patient-focused innovations for structural heart disease and critical care monitoring.

As the company grows and serves even more patients around the world, Plant Manager, Nathan Tenzer explained: “Edwards conducted a thorough review of its global manufacturing network to ensure we have the right facilities and talent to address our future needs. Limerick met these needs for us.

“We consider multiple factors when determining where we decide to manufacture, for example a location that will allow us to produce close to where products are utilised, a location that offers advantages for our supply chain, good local talent for an engaged workforce, an interest in education and good academic infrastructure, and other characteristics that will be good for business and, ultimately, good for patients.”

Nathan Tenzer, Edwards Lifesciences
Nathan Tenzer, Plant Manager

Nathan continued: “The appeal of Ireland really comes from the exceptional people available. The Midwest region, particularly Limerick and Clare offer not only access to experienced professionals at all levels but also excellent institutions for learning, such as University of Limerick and LIT, combined with a very attractive cost of living. We believe this combination is ideal for a rapidly growing company.

“Limerick is viewed as a competitive and attractive hub for companies in the medical technology sector. Ireland’s Med-Tech sector has grown significantly over the past few years, resulting in Ireland being one of the leading clusters for medical device products globally. As Ireland’s third largest city, Limerick is an important part of this growth. The Mid-West is home to 43 Med-Tech companies in Ireland, 26 of which are in Limerick.”

The new, purpose-built manufacturing facility is expected to be complete at the end of 2020. This will be followed by a plan to staff and transfer in products to the facility over the next 2-3 years.

Nathan added: “The facility design is coming along extremely well, we are very happy with the size and capabilities of this new space.  It will be a very important addition to the Edwards Lifesciences family.

“Initially, we are hiring approximately 60 people in various functions, such as production staff, engineering and professional management. At our interim facility in Shannon, we have already hired our first 45 employees. Once the facility is fully operational, the company expects it will employ approximately 600 people.”​​​​​​​

Nathan’s move to Limerick from the USA has been a positive one“For me, I’d have to say I really enjoy the people who live and work in Limerick. Limerick has a very warm, community-based feel. My family and I have been very warmly welcomed,” he said.

“I think Limerick is uniquely positioned within Ireland to attract talent. Limerick has all the amenities of a well-sized city, only minutes away from the countryside. Recent data suggests there are many people from Limerick that would really like to make their way back.”

Nathan continued: “Limerick does have some challenges, specifically around infrastructure. In my opinion, one of the only real detractors that Limerick could face in the coming years is that projects to manage traffic and access will be needed to realise the growth anticipated.”​​​​​​​

Edwards Lifesciences received support from Limerick City and County council, as well as the IDA. 

Nathan concluded: “Both organisations have been instrumental in helping navigate the available sites, planning process, as well as connecting Edwards Lifesciences with local firms specializing in support for other odds and ends (tax, legal, payroll, etc.).”

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