Edwards Lifesciences Corporation is investing $100 million in new premises in Costa Rica, which will see the Latin American country manufacture heart valve devices for export to medical centres around the world.

Costa Rica is on a mission to prove it is at the sharp end of medical device manufacturing as it targets further international medical technology investment. The country is Latin America’s leading medtech hub, attracting more than 70 medical device producers, including six of the 10 most important companies in the cardiovascular sector. It also produces aesthetics, dental, endoscopy, medication delivery systems, neuro-endovascular, neuro-modulation, optics, orthopedics, sport medicine, ENT & surgical, and diagnostics components for markets in America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.

Jorge Sequeira, managing director of CINDE (the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency) said: “The life sciences sector is one of the most dynamic in terms of exports. CINDE estimates that medical technology, the country’s main industrial good export, will reach US$3,000 million by end-2017. Today Costa Rica, thanks to companies like Edwards, has positioned itself as the second largest exporter of medical technology in Latin America.”

US-headquartered Edwards has been operating in Cartago’s Free Zone La Lima since 2016, employing more than 200 people in Costa Rica. The addition of a new 20,000sqm production plant, expected to be fully operational in 2020, aligns with plans to hire more than 1,000 additional employees over the next several years.

“Since we established operations in Costa Rica last year, we have appreciation for the excellent business and political environment to help develop our operations. This good experience, along with the excellent workforce we found, has supported our decision to proceed with our plans to build a modern, state-of-the-art heart valve manufacturing facility in Costa Rica to support our long-term growth aspirations,” said Michael Mussallem, Chairman and CEO of Edwards Lifesciences worldwide.

Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Trade, Alexander Mora, added: “The medical technology sector represents one of the main driving forces of the Costa Rican economy. In addition to energizing the industrial sector, it gradually increases its market share in the services sector. More and more medical technology companies are carrying out research and development projects, as well as innovation initiatives in Costa Rica. The companies in this sector are one of the main exporters. In this context, Edwards Lifesciences has been constantly growing in Costa Rica, taking advantage of the positive investment climate as well as the productive incentives in the free zone regime. With just one year of operating locally, they have found the conditions and talent they require for the manufacture of their products, characterized by high levels of complexity, sophistication and quality.”

Beyond investment, Costa Rica is also looking to attract business tourism and knowledge exchange in the medtech sector ahead of the opening of the 6,500-capacity Costa Rica Convention Center in San Jose in May, 2018. Alejandro Castro, director of marketing at Costa Rica Tourism Board, told AMI magazine its initial target is winning conference business from Latin America associations that align with its key industry sectors, including life sciences.

“Costa Rica has traditionally been associated with the corporate and incentive market. We have the beaches and the weather and it is a very playful destination. But one of our biggest exports last year, apart from agriculture, was medical devices, so there is more to Costa Rica than people think.”


(via CINDE, CINDE News, AMI)