Medical device giant Siemens Healthineers has announced a $250m investment in a new UK production facility aimed at manufacturing superconducting magnets to be used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) devices.

Siemens Healthineers has said that the North Oxfordshire facility will both support more than 1,300 jobs in the area and  minimise the use of limited and unsustainable materials in making MRIs, such as helium. The facility will be the UK’s first-ever home for what the company calls DryCool technology, which reduces the amount of helium required in an MRI scanner from 1,500 litres to under a single litre.

At the same time, the German medical device firm has said that the 56,000m2 site will be operationally carbon-neutral with plans to open its doors in 2026. The new site will help bolster the MRI supply amid a rising global demand for MRI products as populations age and chronic diseases become more prevalent.

Chief executive of Siemens Healthineers, Bernd Montag said: “MRI technology plays a vital role in diagnosing disease, helping patients to get healthy and stay healthy. As a world leader in medical imaging, we are very proud to open the next chapter of our history here in Oxford. This factory will be the global centre for our innovative low-helium magnet technology, meaning we consume far less of a scarce natural resource and enable access to MRIs for many more patients.”

Additionally, the new facility will act as a research and development hub responsible for technologies such as designing and manufacturing some of what Siemens calls the world’s smallest and most lightweight whole-body scanners.

Commenting on the opening of the new facility, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said: “I am delighted Siemens Healthineers has chosen Oxfordshire for its new facility, supporting over 1,300 skilled jobs in the area, and reinforcing the region’s status as a vanguard in healthcare and R&D. But as well as the incredible local benefits this will bring, this cutting-edge facility also presents an opportunity to enhance patient care globally – which means British innovation is saving lives around the world.”

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It follows after German-multinational company announced plans to close its fast-track diagnostics arm, putting 90 jobs at risk and pivoting away from a Covid-19 era business. It also follows after the company received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its MAGNETOM Cima.X 3 Tesla MRI device.