February 28, 2019

At the Forefront of the North Shore’s Life Sciences Activity


In 1981, a medical device company named Abiomed in Danvers, Massachusetts was at the forefront of designing what would become the modern version of the artificial heart. The company’s drive to save lives led to the very first patient being treated with Abiomed’s implantable artificial heart in 2001.

The company’s mission and vision evolved with the industry’s. Abiomed’s footprint expanded beyond the United States when it acquired a German company, Impella CardioSystems, in 2005. Instead of only focusing on replacing hearts, this acquisition enabled Abiomed to expand its portfolio into technologies that enable a heart attack patient’s heart to rest and recover, so the patient can go home with his or her native heart. Abiomed developed the world’s smallest heart pump and by 2008, the Impella heart pump received its first FDA clearance in the United States.

In 2015, 2016, and 2017, Abiomed was an awardee of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s Tax Incentive Program. The program offers tax incentives to companies engaged in life sciences research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing in Massachusetts in order to expand life sciences-related employment opportunities and promote health-related innovations in the life sciences.

Since 2007, Abiomed has grown threefold from 350 employees to 1,300 worldwide. In Massachusetts, there are roughly 450 employees at the company’s Danvers headquarters and manufacturing facility. The company’s space in Danvers has also grown in recent years with Abiomed doubling its footprint from 60,000 to 120,000 square feet. Ian McLeod, Abiomed’s vice president and corporate controller, relayed that the company’s ability to create 170 jobs in Massachusetts through the MLSC Tax Incentive Program has empowered the company to build a culture that continues to drive success and innovation.

“The benefits of having our headquarters in Massachusetts have been immeasurable,” said Mr. McLeod. “With a strong and committed education and workforce collaboration, Massachusetts’ pipeline of talent is unparalleled.”

Abiomed offers co-op and internship opportunities to students in the state, partnering with colleges and universities throughout the Commonwealth. With the company’s headquarters just twenty miles from Boston, it has developed a young, diverse and well-prepared workforce.

“Having our headquarters in Danvers is ideal,” added Mr. McLeod “In the last two years, we expanded our presence to include a completed innovation center for engineering, manufacturing, and clean room space.”

Abiomed is a well-established pillar in a part of the state that continues to experience a wave of activity in the life sciences and related fields. Commonwealth Diagnostics International in Salem is a fellow MLSC Tax Incentive awardee; biotech and clean-tech startup incubator North Shore InnoVentures is located in Beverly; PCI Synthesis,the largest small molecule CDMA in New England, is headquartered in Newburyport; and this past October, the ribbon was cut on the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute’s new facility to advance marine biotechnology research and expand the regional economy.

Last year alone, the MLSC awarded more than $19 million in tax incentive awards to 23 companies that committed to creating 1,189 net new jobs in the Commonwealth by the end of the 2018 calendar year.  Roughly half of those awards went to support companies who are hiring and expanding outside of Greater Boston. Learn more about the program.

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