R&D spending fiscal 2011: $1.51 billion
Priorities and Projects: The number represents a slow but steady increase from the $1.46 billion and $1.35 billion in research and development spending the Minnesota medical device giant spent in 2010 and 2009, respectively, even as the company focused on reorganizing and paring back as many as 2,000 jobs to address stagnant growth. Those cuts, in turn, helped keep the company nimble for initiatives such as its Solera spinal system and its Arctic Front cryoballoon procedure for atrial fibrillation. Medtronic ($MDT) says it is focusing on new innovations but also working on improving and expanding the indications for the products it has. Also a priority in the age of the national healthcare reform law: Developing devices that help reduce patient care costs and how long they stay in the hospital. To that end, Medtronic has continued work on an artificial pancreas for diabetics, gained FDA clearance for its Revo MRI SureScan MRI-friendly pacemaker (the first of its kind approved in the U.S.), and deep brain stimulation treatments for patients with epilepsy and other neurodegenerative disorders.
(MedTronic's InSync III is its most advanced pacemaker, designed to resynchronize a failing heart's lower chambers.)