Boston Scientific's announcement that it is to invest €17 million in its new Endoscopy design facility in Galway, "reaffirms Ireland’s position as one of the international leaders in the medtech industry".
This is the view of the Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources and Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne, who was speaking at yesterday's launch by Boston Scientific of its new RoadRunner endoscopy design facility in Galway. The company also announced it had committed to investing €17 million by 2020 in both endoscopy research and in the new facility.
The RoadRunner design process can deliver novel medical devices within six months, while the facility will allow more than 300 international physicians each year to promote collaboration and the rapid development of metal stents, devices used in the management of gastrointestinal obstructions, such as in the bowel or biliary tract. Through collaboration between engineers and physicians, the RoadRunner process will seek to ensure devices are developed more rapidly, while also ensuring they meet patient and physician needs.
Using the RoadRunner process, Boston Scientific has already developed two novel enteral stents - devices inserted into the duodenum (small intestine ) and colon. This includes the WallFlex soft enteral stent, which is easier for physicians to use in clinical practice. The stent was also developed within six months, regarded as a significant reduction in the time usually taken to develop such devices.
“The investment reaffirms Ireland’s position as one of the international leaders in the medtech industry," said Dep Kyne. "As the largest medical devices employer in Ireland, Boston Scientific has a reputation as a significant and valued employer in Galway; while globally, the products manufactured in Ireland positively impact human health across the world. I welcome this announcement and the Government and its agencies will continue to nurture our important relationship with Boston Scientific into the future.”
Art Butcher, senior vice president, endoscopy, Boston Scientific, said the company's "investment in Galway signifies our commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of innovation here and to investing in the technology of the future". He said he was "excited by the early successes" coming out of RoadRunner, which have "allowed us to deliver rapid innovation, incorporating physician feedback, to create meaningful advances for patients who need gastrointestinal stents.
Dr Darragh Colgan, Vice President, Structural Heart R & D, Boston Scientific, said that through the RoadRunner facility, "our engineers will gather real time feedback from international clinicians" to inform innovation and design at every stage in the development of a stent. He said this would "significantly reduce the time it takes" for a device to make its transition "from bench to bedside".
Some 40 international research and clinical experts attended Wednesday's launch, which also marked the 20th anniversary of Boston Scientific’s European Innovation Centre in Galway, which has produced more than three million devices in total.
The Boston Scientific site in Galway was first established in 1994 and employs more than 3,000 people. It develops devices across several therapeutic areas aside from endoscopy, including peripheral artery disease and aortic valve disease.