Contact the Central American Group to establish your Life Sciences enterprise in Costa Rica
The presence of Life Sciences in Costa Rica was pioneered by Baxter, which established itself in the country in 1985. Today, the sector has become the nation’s top merchandise exporter.
Costa Rica ranks among the ten most prolific exporters of Life Sciences products in the world.
In recent decades, a large part of Costa Rica’s economic development strategy has been dedicated to working to develop the country’s high value-added productive sectors with the aim of producing goods and services that revolutionize markets.
Companies involved in the Life Sciences sector in Costa Rica have combined to make the country the largest exporter of medical goods to the United States after Mexico.
In 2018, Costa Rica exported over US $2.7 billion dollars of life science products which represented 29% of its exports. This figure is up from 2017 when 27% of exports were in this product category.
Today there are 72 multinational companies involved in manufacturing in the Life Sciences sector in Costa Rica. These companies have generated approximately 22,000 direct jobs and have created an industry value chain that is complex and diverse. This manufacturing sector in Costa Rica has experienced its success because of a superior educational system and the high specialization of the country’s workforce, its widening supplier base, and its welcoming foreign direct investment climate. As a result of these conditions, Costa Rican medical device and life sciences manufacturers are producing increasingly sophisticated products with increasingly advanced technologies. These items are sold in the world’s most stringent and demanding markets that include the United States, Asia, and Europe.
Products manufactured in the realm of Life Sciences in Costa Rica have achieved a high level of acceptance across the globe. Two companies in particular with a presence in Costa Rica, Boston Scientific, and Baxter have been recent recipients of one of the manufacturing world’s most coveted prizes, the Shingo.
Six out of ten of the largest medical device firms in the world have established operations in Costa Rica. These companies produce cardiovascular care products. In addition to this, the Life Sciences industry in Costa Rica is the source of items such as medical-aesthetics devices, dental products, orthopedic and optical devices, and products used in endoscopy, among others. The presence of this wide variety of products is another reason Costa Rica is globally recognized as a top-tier player in the medical device industry.
A sustained evolution in Life Sciences in Costa Rica
According to Vanessa Gibson, investment climate manager for the Costa Rican economic development promotion agency, CINDE, it was in 1985 that the first multinational company established itself in the country to begin the growth of its Life Sciences sector. That company was Baxter. The Life Sciences manufacturing production in Costa Rica continued to develop throughout the 1990s and progressed to the point at which the sector had developed well-defined, technologically advanced niches in global export markets.
In addition to large companies such as Baxter, Abbott Labs, Boston Scientific, and others, the Life Sciences sector in Costa Rica has a volume of production that creates a lucrative space for companies that are suppliers of items such as raw materials and subcomponents, as well as of engineering services. Small and mid-sized companies can establish themselves in Costa Rica to become partners with the larger corporations in the country’s Life Sciences sector in innovation and the creation of sophisticated, high value-added products.
An example of a firm that has created an intricate supplier network for itself in Costa Rica is Microtechnologies. After having had a presence in Costa Rica for a period of 20 years, the company made a new investment in the nation’s productive base in 2018 that was valued at US $15 million dollars. In addition to the 250 jobs that the company has created in its new 150,000 square foot facility, the firm works with makers of plastic injection molds and dies, as well as other inputs to their sophisticated processes.
In addition to these things, Costa Rican designers also provide services in the country’s complex supply chain that are necessary to create the parts that are integrated into their clients’ processes.
Life Sciences in Costa Rica benefits from valuable human capital
In order for the country’s Life Sciences sector to continue on its trajectory of growth, the country realizes that it must maintain its commitment to growing a world-class, educated workforce.
In order to ensure future success in the industry, the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC), CINDE, and the University of Minnesota joined forces in 2015 to offer the first master’s degree in Latin America for medical device engineering. This was an important step that was taken to promote the academic formation of Costa Rican professionals that want to develop a successful career in the Central American country’s Life Sciences industry.
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