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Monday, Dec 5, 2022
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Medical Device Makers Boost Headcount, Real Estate Presence

Employee growth at Orange County’s biggest medical device makers climbed 8.3%, out pacing last year’s 5% increase, according to the Business Journal’s annual list.

The firms grew their local headcount, 24,035, at a faster pace than elsewhere as they reported companywide growth of 1.1% to 544,042.

Topping the list once again was Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW) with 4,688 local employees, a 4.1% increase from a year ago. The company is in the midst of a major expansion to its local headquarters campus to accommodate the growth (see story, page 16).

The Irvine-based heart valve maker has a market cap of $76 billion, making it the most valuable publicly traded company with headquarters in Orange County. Its second-quarter sales rose to $1.4 billion, a 49% rebound from a year ago when elective surgeries were being postponed due to the pandemic.

“We were encouraged by the clear signs of recovery during the second quarter,” Chairman and Chief Executive Mike Mussallem told analysts on a July conference call. “Vaccine adoption in key regions have contributed to an increasing number of patients seeking and, most importantly, receiving treatment.”

The largest grower was No. 4 Medtronic Neurovascular, which climbed 39% to 2,277 employees.

Another fast grower was No. 8 Masimo Corp. of Irvine, which notches the fifth highest value of an OC public company at press time with a $15 billion market cap. Its headcount jumped 26% to 885 workers. Companywide, it climbed 17% to 6,200.

No. 8 Masimo Corp. of Irvine, which notches the fifth highest value of an OC public company at press time with a $15 billion market cap, had the biggest local employee increase, jumping 26% to 885 workers. Companywide, it climbed 17% to 6,200.

During the pandemic, Masimo experienced high demand for its pulse oximetry devices, as well as a series of remote wireless devices that measure various vital signs.

It’s waiting for FDA approval for a new wearable product that will help monitor the breathing of people taking opioids at home after a surgery.

“If they stop breathing, it will send an alarm to wake them up or to a designated person or an ambulance” if they cannot respond, CEO Joe Kiani told the Business Journal in a recent interview.

Masimo recently took over the lease for a large office next to its headquarters to handle additional local workers.

Notables

• No. 3 Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices reported the third biggest local employee jump, saying its headcount climbed 25% to 3,136. Companywide, it fell 3.2% to 58,700. Its local facility makes catheters and breast implants, among other devices.

• No. 2 Applied Medical Resources Corp. of Rancho Santa Margarita continued its steady climb by increasing headcount 3.9% to 3,188 employees. Most of its employees work in Orange County as companywide it employs 4,559. The company, which employed about 1,500 a decade ago, makes devices to enable small incisions to provide minimally invasive procedures.

• No. 7 MicroVention Inc., owned by Japan’s Terumo Corp., increased its headcount by 11% to 1,329. Last November, it hired Carsten Schroeder as chief executive and president. MicroVention, with a large base of operations in Aliso Viejo, is best known for its products that treat aneurysms or brain bleeds.

• Another Irvine-based medical device maker doing well on Wall Street is No. 13 Inari Medical Inc. (Nasdaq: NARI), which has seen its market cap soar to $4.1 billion since it went public 16 months ago. It reported a 10% jump in OC employees to 347, and has plans for a much larger headquarters in the Spectrum area of the city.

It grew faster elsewhere as companywide employee count climbed 19% to 702.

Its sales are expected to explode 82% this year to $253 million, according to the average estimate of analysts.

• No. 14 Glaukos Corp. (Nasdaq: GKOS) is preparing to move its headquarters from San Clemente to Aliso Viejo in the coming months.

The maker of products and drugs to combat glaucoma saw its local workforce climb 7.5% to 328. Companywide, it grew 2.9% to 680. For more on Glaukos, see this week’s back-page Leader Board.

• No. 15 Nihon Kohden America Inc. boosted its headcount 16% to 321. It’s capable of providing a “pop-up” system with 16 beds and bed monitors to assist hospitals in the event of hospitals being overwhelmed by COVID-19.

• No. 18 Axonics Inc. (Nasdaq: AXNX) in Irvine boosted its local workforce 13% to 218 and its overall headcount 42% to 503 as it continues to market its sacral neuromodulation device for patients with bowel dysfunctions.

Its growth is expected to soar 68% this year $187.5 million, the average estimate of 10 analysts. Its stock has more than doubled this past year to a $3.6 billion market cap.

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Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan has been a journalist for 40 years. He spent a decade in Latin America covering wars, narcotic traffickers, earthquakes, and business. His resume includes 15 years at Bloomberg News where his headlines and articles sometimes moved the market caps of companies he covered by hundreds of millions of dollars. His articles have been published worldwide, including the New York Times and the Washington Post; he's appeared on CNN, CBC, BBC, and Bloomberg TV. He was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship at The Ohio State University.
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