Medtronic announces 200 R&D roles at Galway plant

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Medtech giant Medtronic is adding 200 research and development (R&D) roles at a global centre of excellence in Galway. The new jobs are part of a $30 million (€29.9 million) investment in its business, the company says.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar will be on hand for the formal announcement on Friday as the company marks 40 years in Ireland.

He noted the company initially came to Ireland back in 1982 “with plans to manufacture a small number of cardiovascular devices”.

“Forty years later, the company now employs more than 4,000 people across five sites in Galway, Athlone and Dublin,” he said. Of those, 3,000 are based at two plants in Galway – at Mervue and at Parkmore, where these jobs will be based.

In that time, Medtronic has become an Irish-domiciled business – one of the highest-profile, albeit contentious, corporate inversions of the Obama era – when it acquired Covidien, a company that had itself become Irish in the same manner.

The Covidien deal made Medtronic the largest player in the medical device sector.

On a recent visit to Dublin, company chief executive Geoff Martha noted that R&D undertaken in Galway was a critical part of Medtronic operations globally.

“What it is famous for inside Medtronic, what it is known for, is global products that cut across many of our businesses,” he said. These include drug delivery – “the tech that navigates the vasculature” – and drug/device combinations, ensuring that stents and other devices being developed will be compatible with the human body.

“In those two areas, a lot of the R&D is done here for the world,” Mr Martha said.

The 200 jobs will be in new product development and global laboratory services. Country director Gerard Kilcommins said they would help in the development of products and services in the areas of coronary care, heart valve and peripheral vascular disease, heart arrhythmia and pacing, hypertension and spinal injury.

More than half the new positions have already been filled and the company is actively recruiting for the remainder.

Mr Kilcommins noted that the group’s Irish sites had played a “significant role in Medtronic’s evolution from medical device manufacturer to a global leader in healthcare technology”.

The company’s other Galway site at Mervue was instrumental in ramping up its supply of ventilators in the early days of the Covid pandemic. Medtronic has a one-third share of the US ventilator market and all of it is supplied from the Galway plant.

When Covid struck, the plant, which had been making 200 ventilators a week, ramped that up five-fold over three months to churn out 1,000 a week in June, doubling its staff numbers.

IDA Ireland’s head of life sciences, Michael Lohan, said that while the occasion was an opportunity to look back, it was also a chance to “look forward with promise at the vote of confidence the company has taken by investing and growing the new product development team and other services in Ireland”.

“Medtronic’s role in nurturing and developing talent in science and engineering over four decades is something IDA Ireland deeply values and we are proud to support the growth in the company’s Irish R&D activity,” he said.


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