Medtronic to build Chinese facility for the manufacture of advanced diabetes devices

MiniMed 640G insulin pump with built-in continuous glucose monitoring--Courtesy of Medtronic

Medtronic ($MDT) deepened its commitment to Chengdu, China, announcing that it will build a manufacturing plant to make a next-generation sensor and pump system in the city, as it tackles the growing challenge of diabetes in the country.

Although the exact device to be manufactured is not specified in the announcement, Medtronic mentions its SmartGuard technology, which is used in the company's MiniMed 640G glucose monitor and pump. The device launched internationally last year, but is pending FDA approval in the U.S.

The deal also calls for Medtronic to partner with the city government to enable access to the technology among Chengdu's citizens, as well as those in its interior province of Sichuan.

Medtronic says the device will contain software displayed in the Chinese language.

The investment marks the second Medtronic plant announced in Chengdu. In 2014, the company announced it will build its first worldwide factory for portable hemodialysis equipment in the city. Commercial production of the system is expected to commence this year, Plastics News reported at the time.

And in 2012, GE ($GE) said it will open a facility in the city to develop devices that meet the medical needs of rural areas.

The Chinese government is known to favor devices made in the country through policies like favorable reimbursement, giving them an edge over imported products.

"Medtronic and Chengdu share a commitment to transform diabetes care through advanced therapies that can provide greater freedom and better health to over one hundred million people living with diabetes in China," said Alejandro Galindo, president of Medtronic's intensive insulin management unit, in a statement. "By manufacturing both advanced insulin pumps and hemodialysis products in Chengdu, we will benefit from the expertise of this global medical technology hub, while expanding access of our innovative therapies to China's growing population."

- read the release