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*Shannon Free Zone. Photograph: Arthur Ellis

100 jobs are to be created in Shannon by the middle of next year, The Clare Echo can exclusively reveal.

Galway based and Irish owned medical devices and drug delivery company, Aerogen Ltd is to establish a manufacturing operation in Shannon next year and in the process will create 100 jobs by the middle of 2021.

Hiring for the positions are underway with positions varying from medical device operators to experienced production and quality engineers.

In October of last year, Molex announced it was to cease operations at its facility in Shannon at the end of 2020 which would result in the loss of 500 jobs. The US multinational has been operating in the Shannon Free Zone since 1971 and was one of the largest employers in the town.

Aerogen had been the main customer of Molex with staff informing The Clare Echo last year that 100 jobs could be kept if the link was maintained. The product line generated a revenue of over €1.5m on a monthly basis.

Molex’s closure and the fact the facility will cease operations at the end of this year prompted the decision by Aerogen to establish a Shannon base which will complement the company’s extensive design and manufacturing operations at their Galway headquarters.

Agreement has been reached that will allow Aerogen access “a significant portion of the current Molex facility complex”.

Dr. Brendan Hogan, Senior Vice President of Engineering & Operations at Aerogen Ltd confirmed to The Clare Echo their plans to create 100 jobs in Shannon by the middle of 2021. He said that Molex had been a much respected, and long-standing supplier of some of its key medical components and sub-assemblies.

Minimising the risk of supply of quality drug delivery systems on time to patients worldwide led to the decision to establish the new facility in Shannon, Dr Hogan stated.

“We are utilising our significant investment in plant and equipment there as well as having access to a pool of skilled workers and well qualified and competent staff in the Midwest region. Additional new equipment and tooling is being installed later this year and Aerogen will be making further investments there to continue the growth trajectory of the company as it further expands existing business and develops new markets,” he told The Clare Echo.

Products from Aerogen are used in 75 countries across the world in emergency departments and neonatal intensive care units. To-date their patented technology has treated more than 11 million patients worldwide. They expect the company’s projected 25 percent growth will continue.

Demand for the company experienced a “significant increase” during the first half of this year, due to COVID-19. To cater for a rapid increase in output, additional personnel were hired by Aerogen at their Galway HQ to assist in the design and development of products. “We have partnered with some drug companies in the development of vaccines to deliver the drug using Aerogen’s unique and patented aerosolised drug delivery technology. This aerosol inhalation system if successful would be a less invasive delivery method than injection, particularly for younger people,” Dr Hogan said.

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