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Mirandola, a Biomedical District
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - A special industrial district: a deep-rooted farming tradition, a passion for cars (we are next-door to Maranello, the home of Ferrari) and a great love for opera (this is the birthplace of Pavarotti). There is no reason, then, why in Mirandola, 30 km from Modena, there should develop a network of businesses all dedicated to the biomedical sector, achieving in a few decades a leading position on international markets. No reason, that is, were it not for one man - Mario Veronesi. This former pharmaceutical representative for an American multinational and former pharmacist did not possess specific knowledge or a particularly large capital. His winning characteristic was the entrepreneurial ability with which he managed to exploit an intuition: that biomedical products, and in particular disposables, would become a great growth market. This intuition, together with a vast knowledge of and range of contacts in the Italian hospital and pharmaceutical world are behind what is now the district of Mirandola.
Veronesi began to produce the first disposable products in his garage. In 1964, when business began to intensify, Veronesi opened his first factory, Sterilplast. From that moment on, the name of Veronesi and Sterilplast began to become known, company business grew and new product lines were developed, leading to the production of Italy's first artificial kidney. Sterilplast subsequently became Dasco (an acronym based on the Italian for Scientific Hospital Equipment Division) and began to mass-produce artificial kidneys. This first business led to numerous spin-offs, such as Bellco, Dideco, and Dar, which became the driving force behind the district's development. The high concentration in the area of top-quality know-how and technical expertise, together with the advantages typical of district economies, have attracted a number of multinationals to Mirandola such as Mallinkrodt, Braun Carex, Biofil, and Hospital Dasco.
Today, the district essentially specialises in two types of products: disposables and electro-medical equipment. The former are plastic disposable products used in various fields of medicine (above all haemodialysis, heart surgery, anaesthesia and autotransfusion), while electro-medical equipment is essentially equipment for dialysis, heart surgery, transfusion and other applications. The organisational structure is typical of the industrial district: over the years, the medium-sized companies have given rise, through a process of "budding", to the proliferation of a series of small businesses, mainly started up by their former employees (engineers, technicians and other qualified staff). These small businesses have in turn specialised in performing work which larger companies find it convenient to outsource and, in particular, in the production of circuits and accessories for dialysis and cardiovascular applications.
Today, Mirandola is characterised by the presence of some large manufacturers of disposable goods and equipment; by a dense network of independent local businesses, which operate in extremely specialised market niches; and by a few dozen companies which produce components for third parties and provide labour for product assembly. These were the figures for the district at the end of 2003: 71 companies, with 3,600 workers, a turnover of around 650 million euros and around 50% of products exported. Naturally, it is the large companies, some of which are multinationals, which account for most of the turnover, but they also rely on the network of small and medium-sized sub-suppliers.
Area: province of Modena
Product specialisation: biomedical
Number of town council districts: 8
Surface area: 300 km2
Population: 70,000 inhabitants
Number of businesses: 71
People employed: 3,600
Turnover: 650 million euros