Sustainability Report > Products > Product Lifecycle, Design & Innovation

Product Lifecycle, Design & Innovation

Management approach


Edwards Lifesciences’ work to improve Product Lifecycle, Design and Innovation supports our Aspirations to Transform Patient Care Through Innovative Technologies and Strengthen Our Communities.

Innovating to improve quality, design and performance of products and reducing environmental impacts of Edwards’ products throughout their lifecycle


Management Approach

Innovation is at the core of Edwards Lifesciences. We challenge ourselves to envision new ways to advance our technologies and improve patient quality of life. When it comes to cardiovascular disease, there is always more to be done. Our focus on innovation allows us to produce life-saving products and therapies that transform the lives of patients around the world. 

Focused Innovation

Edwards takes a strategic, thoughtful and disciplined approach to product innovation. We focus our work on exploring the valves that power the human heart and the technology that monitors the heart’s performance. This enables us to stay at the forefront of our industry and continually expand the possibilities of patient care.

Edwards typically invests around 15 percent of annual sales into product innovation, which benefits our ultimate, and most important, customer—patients. Each of our business units lead in innovations that benefit our ultimate customer—patients. Our approach drives strong financial performance and provides us with unmatched expertise on therapies that enhance patient lives.

  • Edwards’ Critical Care group invests to strengthen our core hemodynamic portfolio and drive standardization of Enhanced Surgical Recovery programs
  • Our Surgical Heart Valve Therapies group is developing new tissue platforms that improve durability, ease of use and expand therapies to broader populations
  • Our Transcatheter Heart Valve Therapies group leads the industry in innovation for less-invasive aortic heart valve replacement therapies that improve patient outcomes

Intellectual Property

Protecting intellectual property is important to maintaining Edwards’ leadership position in medical device innovation. The strength of our proprietary technology fuels our research and development of new, patient-focused solutions. Edwards owns more than 2,700 issued patents and pending patent applications in both U.S. and foreign locations. We monitor our competitors to identify possible infringements, protect our patents and take appropriate follow-up when required.

Packaging Design & Innovation

Edwards strives to maximize the value and function of our products from design to end-of-life. We strengthen our new packaging design to enable safer, more efficient and more cost-effective product delivery. This includes exploring sustainable solutions that decrease impact to our environment. For example, our Corporate Packaging Engineering Group is pursuing options for biodegradable and high-barrier materials that may improve packaging performance while reducing cost and waste. By 2018, we will assess lifecycle impacts on packaging designs and product materials for existing products across business units.

Supplier Partnerships for Innovation

Edwards builds collaborative, long-term relationships with key suppliers who support our vision for innovation. We ask our suppliers to provide insight into the design and manufacturing of new products. We also include supply chain employees on most research and development product teams to facilitate supplier selection and early supplier involvement. This enables our research and development teams to collaborate with suppliers throughout the product development process.

Annual Performance

Every year, Edwards Lifesciences creates new products with the power to save lives. In 2015, Edwards received FDA approval for two new devices. The SAPIEN 3 transcatheter heart valve enables minimally invasive procedures for high-risk patients with reduced likelihood of adverse complications. Clinical results have shown significantly lower mortality and stroke rates for high- and intermediate-risk patients compared with traditional surgical replacement.1 The device has been commercially available in Europe since 2014.

Also in 2015, we received FDA approval for use of the SAPIEN XT valve in aortic valve-in-valve procedures. This minimally invasive procedure provides advanced treatment for high-risk patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis. Furthermore, our 2015 acquisition of CardiAQ has better positioned us to develop our transcatheter mitral valve replacement systems. The combined knowledge and efforts of our teams will enable Edwards to advance this patient-focused innovation.

1Herrmann, H.C. Evaluation of a Balloon-Expandable Transcatheter Aortic Valve in High-Risk and Inoperable Patients With Aortic Stenosis – One-Year Outcomes. American College of Cardiology 2015.

Assess lifecycle impacts on packaging designs and product materials for existing products across all business units by 2018.
Strengthen Our Communities
Leading Innovation in Heart Valve Therapy
Since 1958, Edwards has led the medical device industry in patient-focused innovation for therapies that treat structural heart disease. We’ve pioneered developments in surgical, transcatheter and critical care products that enhance and save patient lives. Innovation not only drives our bottom line, but enables us to continually improve our impacts on society and the environment.
In 2015, Edwards Lifesciences received FDA approval for use of our SAPIEN 3 heart valve in the United States. We designed the SAPIEN 3 for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), an innovative and minimally invasive procedure. Clinical trials have shown that TAVR reduces patient risk of mortality and other post-operation complications.1
1Hermann, H.C. Evaluation of a Balloon Expandable Transcatheter Aortic Valve in High-Risk and Inoperable Patients With Aortic Stenosis — One-Year Outcomes, American College of Cardiology 2015.