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Medtronic enters hemodialysis field, builds factory in China


  Image by Medtronic.

Medtronic Inc. has just broken ground to build its first production line for hemodialysis systems, hoping to serve the global market from its new production base in Chengdu, China.

The Minneapolis-based medical-device maker held a project launching ceremony on Aug. 4 in the capital city of Sichuan province in southwest China, the company said in a Chinese news release.

Medtronic's global R&D team is making progress on the design and development of the hemodialysis system and expects to complete the process by 2015 and launch commercial production in 2016.

The Chengdu facility will be making key parts and fully assembled systems for the Chinese and global markets. The Chengdu facility will source plastics parts, Medtronic China told Plastics News on Aug. 6.

The company calls the project another milestone of its localization in China, since the establishment of its innovation center in Shanghai in 2012.

The company has set up a fully owned subsidiary in Chengdu to take charge of the production, product registration and market development.

Omar Ishrak, Medtronic chairman and CEO, noted that Chengdu came up as the most suitable location in the company's global search for the development and production base of its new hemodialysis products.

Being the most economically dynamic region in midwest China, Chengdu offers solid infrastructure as well as excellent talent in electronic engineering, materials, and healthcare, and has attracted many Fortune 500 companies to build R&D and production facilities here, he said.

"More importantly," he noted, the highly efficient local government is an in important factor in the decision to choose Chengdu.

Chengdu city government and the high-tech district -- where the Medtronic plant is located -- will help Medtronic develop innovative medical treatments and applications that are suitable for Chinese patients and hospitals, the release said.

About 110 million of Chinese suffer from chronic renal conditions, including 1.5 million to 2 million late-stage patients, Medtronic said. Only 300,000 of them have access to hemodialysis.

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