Monday, January 05, 2009


One of the lesser highlighted news last week was a small announcement by the Penang state government that an American company, namely St Judes Medical, is setting up a factory in Penang. Earlier on in April 2008, there was a preliminary announcement by the Penang state government that St Judes will be investing in the state, with about RM100million.
I think that this is an important step forward as St Judes Medical is an important medical device company, that manufactures a good range of pacemakers. They are obviously the makers of the St Judes heart valves, which very good bi-leaflet heart valves, implanted in many of our Malaysian patients. The St Judes heart valves is arguably the best mechanical heart valve. It is probably the most physiological in its function, for a mechanical bi-leaflet valve. St Judes also have vascular closure devices. Lately, St Judes Medical has also acquired the Swiss company, Radi Medical, that makes pressure wires that we can use to more accurately assess the significance of heart artery blockages. St Judes brings with it a whole range of cardiovascular products that we use to treat heart patients. Of the many products in their armentarium, I am particularly impress with their pacemakers and heart valves. Now that they also have a pressure wire, and should they become cheaper, we can also consider its use in the more borderline lesions.
I am not sure how the business aspect will work out. I am obviously hoping that because St Judes is now in Penang, their products will hopefully be cheaper for our patients. They obviously will be employing Malaysian engineers and technical staff, and that will allow a certain amount of technology transfer, and perhaps enhance our bio-medical industry. Perhaps, using this as a lead, we could look to the day when Malaysians can innovate and design cardiac devices, to help our Malaysian patients.
All in all, the coming of St Judes Medical will be good for Malaysia and Penang. It brings business, gives employment, and may even spur on a new medical device industry.

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