Edwards, J&J Vision aim to expand medtech manufacturing sites in Ireland

Two global medtech companies have made multimillion-euro investments to boost their manufacturing capacity in Ireland, just down the street from each other in Limerick: Edwards Lifesciences and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

Edwards doubled its planned investments for the city from €80 million to €160 million ($180.3 million) and kicked off construction on a new heart valve plant that aims to employ about 600 workers after its completion in 2021.

The Irish prime minister, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, was on hand for Edwards’ groundbreaking at the city’s National Technology Park, according to the Limerick Leader.  

“We are planning for the city to grow by 50% over the next two decades through enhanced regional accessibility, improved international connectivity and a competitive, educated workforce,” Varadkar said.

“The fact that Edwards Lifesciences has chosen Limerick for this new permanent facility is a very positive endorsement of the region as a great place in which to live, work and invest,” he added. Edwards first established operations in Ireland last year in nearby Shannon, hiring about 50 people.

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J&J Vision’s Irish division, meanwhile, plans to add about 100 new jobs to its contact lens manufacturing plant in Limerick as part of a €100 million ($112.7 million) expansion project supported by the Irish government’s foreign direct investment arm, IDA Ireland.

Already one of the world’s largest, the site employs about 1,000 people 24/7 to provide a global supply of Acuvue lenses by producing millions per day. The 100 new positions will include manufacturing technician roles plus employees in engineering and quality, the company told FierceMedTech.

“We believe that the new manufacturing roles being introduced in Limerick in 2019 will be foundational in helping us bring new, innovative contact lens products to our patients and customers around the world at an industry-leading pace,” plant leader John Lynch said in a statement. In addition, about 200 workers are expected to be employed during the construction phase.

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According to the IDA, at least 70 companies have invested in Ireland as a result of Brexit, bringing more than 5,000 jobs to the country since the June 2016 referendum. In January 2018, the IDA calculated that at least 230,000 people worked for foreign direct investment-related companies.