Federal government taps Winnipeg firm to build ventilators
- April 5, 2020
A Winnipeg, Man., company that developed the Winnipeg Ventilator will be making thousands of ventilators after the Federal government selected the business via the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster, the organization leading Canada's Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
Developed by Cerebra’s Scientific founder Dr. Magdy Younes, the original Winnipeg Ventilator was licensed to a major manufacturer and used as the basis for commercial ventilators deployed in tens of thousands of machines in ICUs globally during the 1990s and 2000s. These units were used extensively during the SARS epidemic in 2003.
“The nature of respiratory distress in patients with COVID-19 requires different approaches to ventilatory support in different patients, and in the same patient at different times,” explains Dr. Younes. “This means the ventilator must be able to deliver a range of ventilator modes and oxygen concentrations of up to 100%. While all standard commercial ICU ventilators meet these requirements, it is very difficult to manufacture such ventilators at the scale and speed required for the COVID-19 pandemic and they are very expensive. The Winnipeg Ventilator is the exception.”
Cerebra is working directly with Starfish Medical and other consortium members to update the Winnipeg Ventilator design for broad distribution and manufacturing at a low cost. Cerebra will play a key role in supporting the design phase as well as setting up the transfer of design to qualified manufacturers and clinical testing of the final product.
“Now is the time for Canadian companies to work together,” says Earl Gardiner, Executive Chairman, Cerebra. “We’re proud to bring Dr. Younes’ innovation to meet this urgent need and to do so with the support of NGen and some of Canada’s leading medical device manufacturing companies. The project scope and timelines would not have been possible without NGen funding.”