Bertil Laley, Director, Health Systems Strategies Québec and Atlantic, Medtronic of Canada
Did you know that the “cryoballoon,” a catheter used in cryotherapy, was created and is produced in Québec? This new procedure enables millions of people with atrial fibrillation, the most common heart condition, to live without drug therapy. Medtronic CryoCath, an American giant in advanced medical technology and the world leader in cryocatheters, manufactures cryoballoons at a facility in the Montreal area. The rapidly growing company—its sales double every year—is making waves internationally. It is the only centre in the world to produce over 70,000 units a year. And there’s no slowdown in sight.
Milestones for Medtronic CryoCath
- In the 1980s, Dr. Peter Friedman from Brigham and Women’s University Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, developed the core technology used in cryotherapy.
- In 1992, he obtained a patent for a flexible, steerable catheter delivering cryoenergy within the cardiovascular system.
- In 1994, CryoCath incorporated and set up headquarters in Montréal.
- In 2009, CryoCath was acquired by the American giant Medtronic based in Minneapolis.
At the heart of medical innovation
“By operating here, we are capitalizing on Québec’s thriving life sciences industry,” says Bertil Laley, Director, Health Systems Strategies, Québec and Atlantic, Medtronic of Canada. “The industry here is recognized for its skilled workforce, its network of world-class research centres and teaching hospitals, and the diversity of businesses in its pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health technology sectors. Another big selling point for the region is the generous tax incentives.”
Great future potential
Through Investissement Québec, the Québec government granted Medtronic substantial assistance in 2012 for a $50 million development project. The company, which is committed to maintaining a strong presence in Québec, is considering expanding its manufacturing facility in Greater Montréal in order to ramp up its production rate and capacity. It also plans to set up a new R&D centre in Pointe-Claire and offer cryoablation training in collaboration with the Montreal Heart Institute. The project ultimately represents over 200 new jobs in Québec.
A world-renowned company
This major investment has not gone unnoticed in the international medical technology sector. It was even named the sector’s top investment project in the world in the February-March 2013 issue of fDi magazine, published by the Financial Times. “The Québec government was an ideal partner to support Medtronic’s nomination and, in so doing, reaffirmed the global reach and competitiveness of the life sciences sector in Montréal and Québec,” says Patrick Hupé, Regional Sales Director, Eastern Canada, Medtronic of Canada.