Chinese Medical Device Firm To Build Plant In Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- A Chinese company plans to build a plant in Baton Rouge to manufacturer a radiation treatment device.

Huiheng Medical Inc. would employ up to 300 people at salaries of up to $75,000 if the Food and Drug Administration approves the device, the company's chief executive, Xiaobing Hui said Tuesday through an interpreter.

The company also would make Baton Rouge its North American home office, marketing and service center, and a research and development site, said Eugene Ji, a Baton Rouge businessman who serves as Mayor-President Melvin "Kip" Holden's liaison for economic development affairs with China.

Huiheng said it is also applying for a U.S. patent for the device, which is already used in many hospitals worldwide to treat cancer patients. Ji said the cancer-treatment devices are now assembled in China from components made in that country, as well as Europe, Asia and the United States.

Huiheng wants to build a plant in Baton Rouge in part because of the expertise available in the area, Ji said. The company also hopes to capitalize on the LSU medical physics program, which trains students in the use of the use of radiation systems for cancer treatment, Ji said.

Huiheng would also like to do clinical research trials for the device with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

Mary Bird spokeswoman Amy Benton said the center has invested millions of dollars in devices made by two other companies and has research partnerships with both firms.

The company was approached by Holden during his economic development trip to China in April. Ji said 13 other Chinese companies plan to visit Baton Rouge through 2010.

More in Operations