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NEW Ellex headquarters and manufacturing plant in South Australia

Every 5 seconds, someone in the world will lose the ability to see. According to the World Health Organization, there are currently 40 million people around the globe who are blind, with more than half in China, India and sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 1985, Ellex has been at the forefront of ophthalmic laser research and development, combining the engineering might of the defence industry, with the medical insight of major universities to create ophthalmic remedies once never thought possible.

Local manufacturer Ellex, a global leader in the manufacture and export of medical devices, officially opened a new, purpose-built machinery facility, corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant at Mawson Lakes in December. The development has expanded the company’s manufacturing footprint and will increase production of devices to diagnose and treat glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, secondary cataract, age-related macular degeneration and vitreous opacities, leading to the creation of a number of manufacturing jobs.

For more than 30 years, Ellex has been at the forefront of ophthalmic laser research and development. Today, more than 30,000 Ellex laser and ultrasound systems are used around the world. The new company headquarters and manufacturing plant is situated on 2.18 hectares and employs 165 people, including engineers, researchers, manufacturing technicians and other professional operators. Ellex is South Australia’s largest medical device manufacturer.

The South Australian Government supports the medical devices cluster MedDev SA Alliance, which is aimed at boosting the presence and profitability of South Australians medical technology companies in both domestic and international markets through a $750,000 grant over three years.

Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher said Ellex is a South Australian manufacturing and export success story, evolving from a small scientific laser company to a global leader in medical technologies.

“While it sells more than 90 per cent of its products offshore, around 70 per cent of staff are based in Australia, with the majority of those here in South Australia,” Mr Maher said.

“Proximity to the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute will have multiple benefits, with access to engineering and innovation student and on-site research and development staff, and the opportunity to influence the direction of research and development and access to testing equipment, new technologies and intellectual property.

“The medical technologies industry is growing rapidly, with an estimated US$455 billion expected in global sales by 2018, so the South Australian Government is committed to investing in this vital industry, which enjoys an international reputation for best-practice, high quality and ethical medical technologies.”

Ellex Executive Director Dr Meera Verma said the company is committed to manufacturing in South Australia, supported by the state’s extensive advanced manufacturing expertise and rich history of excellence in defence technology.

“From our humble origins in 1985 as a single product business we have evolved into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of ophthalmic technologies, with an advanced treatment product portfolio that addresses all major forms of eye disease,” Dr Verma said.

“Our new manufacturing plant in Mawson Lakes provides more than double the production capacity of our former plant and offers significant operational efficiencies, and will thereby play a pivotal role in helping drive the growth of our business.”