Boost for Limerick as Cook Ireland secures US approval for medical device

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

MEDICAL devices manufacturer Cook Ireland has received a boost after it won approval to supply a medical device to the American market.

MEDICAL devices manufacturer Cook Ireland has received a boost after it won approval to supply a medical device to the American market.

The company, which employs around 700 people in the National Technology Park, has won approval from the American Food and Drug Administration to supply its Zilver PTX stent to the American market.

The device, manufactured exclusively in Plassey, has been used to treat more than 15,000 patients in over 50 countries across Europe.

But this approval now means Cook can supply to the massive American market - a move which the company’s chief executive Bill Doherty says should lead to big things in Limerick.

“The approval means we can now sell in the US, which is probably a bigger market than the other 50 countries [we supply to] put together,” he told reporters at the Limerick Chamber Regional Business Awards.

Although Mr Doherty could not be drawn on the company’s expansion plans, he said they have already hired more than 100 people this year alone, and are hoping to take more people on.

He said the ‘Obama-care’ scheme in America would be bad for his own company.

This is because it will mean a 2.5% tax will be levied on the turnover of device companies, he said, claiming Cook Medical lose out in between €20m and €30m a year.

“While I think the healthcare plan is good, and the intention is good, I think it may hamper innovation, particularly on smaller companies,” he said.

The approval to sell to the US market comes as Cook Medical - founded in Indiana - celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The Zilver PTX stent is available in more than 50 countries worldwide, including Japan, Taiwan, Australia and Brazil.

But the US market is expected to be the world’s biggest for the device, and demand should increase dramatically with FDA’s approval to market Zilver PTX in the USA. Cook’s Zilver PTX stent is the world’s first drug-eluting stent approved to treat peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in the superficial femoral artery - the largest artery in the leg.