Medtronic opens €7.7m facility in Galway

A €7.7 million brainstorming centre to devise new treatments for cardiovascular and cardiac rhythm disease is due to be opened by EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research and Science, Máire Geoghan-Quinn, at Medtronic’s premises in Galway.

Up to 500 doctors and other medical professionals are expected to spend time in the centre, working with engineers in collaboration, demonstration and hybrid laboratories where surgical procedures can be tried and tested.

The centre is also equipped with digital communication technology for “global networking”, along with three-dimensional printing for new ideas and space for training and education

The centre is the second of its kind in Europe for Medtronic, according to the multinational’s general manager in Galway and global vascular operation vice-president Gerard Kilcommins.

The company has similar centres in Japan, China, the US and Switzerland, but this is the first to be located at a major manufacturing centre, he said. It is testimony to the strategic importance of Galway and the level of expertise therein, he said.

Medtronic’s 2,000-strong workforce in Galway includes some 100 dedicated research and development engineers who will work with cardiac specialists like Dr Faisal Sharif, consultant cardiologist at University Hospital Galway and senior lecturer in regenerative medicine at NUI Galway.

Dr Sharif said the catheterisation/vascular laboratory in the centre includes a virtual operating room where procedures can be carried out on human anatomical models. “The fact that it is a global centre means that it will attract a lot of international experts and speakers,” he said.

Medtronic, which has headquarters in Minneapolis, US, has built its reputation on manufacturing stents, pacemakers, defibrillators and different types of catheters, he said. “We in the health service are constantly striving to improve healthcare and to develop technologies which will alleviate chronic illnesses, and this new facility will be very beneficial.”Medtronic chairman and chief executive officer Omar Ishrak said, “Innovation is the lifeblood of our company and it is through close collaboration with physicians that many of our innovations are developed.” IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary said the centre was very significant in “positioning Ireland internationally as a centre of excellence for innovation, research and development in the medical technology space.”