Monday, April 6, 2020

Sacramento Company to produce thousands of Ventilators

With the coronavirus pandemic worsening, a little-known Sacramento manufacturer announced a deal Monday to dramatically ramp up production of inexpensive ventilators that could help overwhelmed health care workers treat COVID-19 patients.
Vortran Medical Technology of Sacramento said it has licensed its ventilator design to tech giant Xerox Holdings Corp. 
Vortran had been criticized by some on social media after the Los Angeles Times reported that the Sacramento company had refused to hand over its design to a pair of Army veterans on the East Coast who thought they could mass-produce the Vortran models and help overwhelmed emergency room doctors and others.
A spokeswoman for Vortran, Elizabeth Wise, declined to respond to the Times story but said the Sacramento company “has been approached by numerous parties” about its ventilator design.
In a joint announcement, Vortran and Xerox said the technology-licensing agreement will enable Xerox to mass-produce the Vortran ventilators at its plant near Rochester, N.Y. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Vortran, which is based in Natomas and has been making medical equipment since the 1980s, will continue to make the units as well.
“Assuming a stable supply of essential parts, the companies will be rapidly scaling up production from approximately 40,000 ventilators in April to between 150,000 and 200,000 ventilators a month by June,” the companies said. “Together, Xerox and Vortran could produce as many as 1 million ventilators in the coming months.”
They said the Vortran unit, known as a GO2Vent, isn’t a replacement for the high-end ventilators found in hospital intensive-care units. Instead, they are “widely used in emergency situations, inter-hospital transport and MRIs. Given the shortage of ICU-grade ventilators, medical professionals are utilizing tools like this and other technology to support patients.”
They said the GO2Vent is a gas-operated unit that can provide breathing assistance for a single patient for up to 30 days. The unit is disposable.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his cohorts around the country have been appealing for more ventilators as COVID-19 spreads. Earlier Monday, Newsom announced that the state is loaning 500 ventilators to the nation’s stockpile to help hard-hit states such as New York.
“The partnership with Xerox has one clear goal — to help save as many lives as possible,” said Vortran’s co-founder and chief executive, Dr. Gordon Wong, in a prepared statement. “With Vortran’s proven technology and Xerox’s ability to hyper-scale manufacturing, we believe we can supply health care providers (with) as many as 1 million ventilators in the coming months. For all of us, this will be the most important thing we ever do.”

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