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Local Medical Device Makers on Hiring Push

Orange County’s largest medical device makers continue to grow larger, with the top local firms increasing their headcount by over 2%, continuing but slowing from last year’s 8.3% jump.

Continued employee growth has brought physical expansions, with several notable companies increasing their OC footprint in the past year.

This includes Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW), Inari Medical Inc. (Nasdaq: NARI) and Glaukos Corp. (NYSE: GKOS).

The 22 companies on the Business Journal’s list of medical device makers employ 22,030 locally, and 572,951 companywide, up 2.4% and 5.6% year-over-year, respectively.

Local employment counts in the industry for the area’s top device makers has increased by more than 10,000 positions over the past decade, according to Business Journal data.

Heart of the Matter

Edwards, Orange County’s largest publicly traded company, isn’t getting too comfortable.

The heart valve and monitor maker, established in 1958, is looking forward to future growth opportunities, having hired some 150 OC employees in the past year.

Over the past decade, its local employee base has grown from under 2,500 to more than 4,700 workers. It’s continuing to look to hire more (see story, front page).

Edwards’ workforce growth comes amid a backdrop of significant Irvine campus expansions.

In 2020, the company completed a 315,000-square-foot expansion, including new laboratories, outdoor conference center and office space.

Last year, two new buildings on the campus along Red Hill Avenue added another 150,000 square feet of space.

On April 26, the company reported first-quarter 2022 results, with sales jumping 10% to $1.3 billion.

“We continue to believe that 2022 will be an important year for Edwards, as we expect low double-digit sales growth and meaningful progress on our pursuit of significant opportunities to improve patient care,” Edwards’ Chief Executive Michael Mussallem said last week.

In Another Vein

Venous device maker Inari Medical of Irvine has increased by 50% in its local headcount to over 450, and boosted its companywide workforce to more than 900 employees, in the past year.

Flush with IPO cash from a 2019 public listing, Inari in 2020 moved into a 120,000-square-foot space in the Irvine Spectrum, more than tripling its former base on 9 Parker.

Its current stock price of nearly $80 has more than quadrupled since it went public two years ago.

Meanwhile, full year 2021 revenue increased 98% to $277 million.

The 11-year-old company, currently valued around $4 billion, develops and manufactures devices, like the ClotTriever System and the FlowTriever System, to remove large clots in the veins resulting from deep vein thrombosis, or in some cases, pulmonary embolism.

Officials say its devices served several COVID-19 patients who suffered from venous thromboembolism, an underdiagnosed condition that can cause disability and death if left untreated.

“Although we are humbled by the ongoing opportunity to help treat COVID patients suffering from VTE, we are particularly encouraged that the vast majority of both total procedures and growth during the quarter came from treating non-COVID patients,” Inari CEO Bill Hoffman said in a statement earlier this year.

Eyes on Expansion

Ophthalmic device and pharmaceutical company Glaukos has grown its local employee base by 11% to 366 in the past year and 30% in the past two years, according to Business Journal data.

Glaukos’ share price has risen nearly 200% since the maker of treatments for glaucoma, cataracts and retinal diseases went public at $18 per share in 2015.

The company’s full year 2021 revenue jumped 31% to $294 million, despite facing “continued COVID-19 dynamics and other reimbursement challenges,” according to Glaukos’ Chief Executive Thomas Burns.

The company’s 2022 forecast suggests net sales will take a dip and end up somewhere between $265 million and $275 million.

The $2.3 billion-valued company said earlier this year it is in the process of moving administrative, laboratory, R&D; and warehouse space to the 160,000-square-foot Element campus in Aliso Viejo. 

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Audrey Kemp
Audrey Kemp
Audrey Kemp is a staff reporter and occasional photojournalist for the Orange County Business Journal. Her beats include — but are not limited to — healthcare, startups, and education. While pursuing her bachelors in literary journalism at UC Irvine, she interned for New York-based magazine Narratively Inc., wrote for Costa Mesa-based lifestyle magazine Locale, and covered the underground music scene for two SoCal-based music publications. She is an unwavering defendant of the emdash and the Oxford comma.
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