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MAPLE GROVE, MN-Boston Scientific’s 115,000 sf plant in Maple Grove, which is in the process of being expanded, recently was named one of the country’s Top 10 plants by the Oct. 1 issue of Industry Week magazine.The plant will soon be producing the company’s new drug-coated stent, which may become one of the largest selling medical devices to come to market in years with near-term sales projections to hit $6 billion.

Aside from a 40,000 sf expansion that is underway at the campus, Boston Scientific is expected to soon announce details of a new research and development facility at the Maple Grove campus, which city officials say may be around 180,000 sf.

Last fall, the Natick, MS-based medical device company re-engineered and streamlined its manufacturing process, slashing waste and inefficiency and increasing effectiveness and productivity. The company also invested $50 million into new production, laser cutting and stent clean equipment as well as an analytical lab at the facility.

Industry Week cites reduced customer complaints, better yields and lower costs as some of the achievements of the new plant. Earlier this month, the company demonstrated to doctors and securities analysts the clinical trial results for its new drug-coated stent, a tiny metal mesh tube that props open arteries after they are cleaned out by angioplasty. Boston Scientific is expected to hit the market early next year depending on when it gets regulatory approval, and would then split the market with Johnson & Johnson, which was the first to market. Other competitors, such as Medtronic and Guidant, will not likely be ready to enter the market until at least 2005.

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