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North Carolina firm with RTP link designs low-cost ventilator to aid fight against coronavirus

A North Carolina life science startup developing a low-cost ventilator in Research Triangle Park just landed federal approval for its device, meaning it can now produce the product as ventilators are in high-demand across the world amid the pandemic.

BioMedInnovations (BMI) announced this week it has received emergency use authorization for its “SuppleVent” ventilator device from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company – headquartered outside of Charlotte but calls Research Triangle Park home to its research laboratory – specializes in medical devices that help blood and other fluids flow through harvested organs to keep them alive outside of the body for transplantation or research.

However, seeing the need for more ventilators brought on by the pandemic, the company began work on creating a low-cost design. The device was developed in partnership with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) – a federal research facility founded by the University of California, Berkeley.

“When we realized we were facing a pandemic, it was without reservation that we changed our focus at BMI and immediately began researching how to use our technology to design an emergency-use ventilator,” Carrie DiMarzio, the company’s chief operating officer, said. “It’s profound to see what once may have been seen as impossible be made possible by two teams on opposite coasts working voluntarily, selflessly and together to help others.”

The device is designed to “be easily built from readily available parts” while still meeting the functional requirements for Covid-19 patients suffering from serious breathing difficulties.

BioMedInnovations projects that each ventilator would cost “a fraction of that of commercial ventilators,” which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Its researchers and designers say it can provide relief in places experiencing a shortage of ventilators, such as less developed countries or rural areas. It could also be critical in any subsequent surges of cases in the U.S. or elsewhere. Company officials say the company is “already receiving interest from foreign countries for orders.”

The device is also designed with mobility in mind, and is roughly the size of a suitcase so it can be easily transported and deployed.

The research teams were also aided by Industrial Hard Carbon – another company with the same owner as BMI – which brought on NASCAR racing teams, Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions and Joe Gibbs Racing to provide critical components for the ventilator design.

Future ventilators will be assembled by RYMS, a division of Roush Yates Engines, which builds engines for multiple NASCAR teams, as well as components for various other industries.

According to company officials, its design teams continue to work on the device with funding provided by the Department of Energy.

Original Article Source: Triangle Business Journal