P&G helps start-up close the gap on critical ventilator shortage.
Venti-Now, a Greater Cincinnati start-up founded by P&G R&D retiree John Molander, recently received FDA Emergency Use Authorization to create a safe, effective and affordable solution to meet the emergency COVID-19 ventilator shortage around the world.
The story not only of why John wanted to design a portable ventilator but also how he and his team moved so quickly is a personal one.
It started with a conversation between John and his sister, an emergency medicine physician in California working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. She told him about her concern that U.S. hospitals would experience an enormous shortfall in the ventilators needed to keep patients alive. At the time, doctors in Italy were making gut-wrenching decisions on who received treatment on a ventilator and who could not because they were in such short supply.
John wanted to help, and as a retired Director of Innovation for P&G, he had a good idea of where to start. Tapping into his research expertise, he began scouring worldwide databases for ventilation designs. Then he picked up the phone and called his former R&D colleagues at P&G, who saw the tremendous potential of John’s idea and offered their resources and expertise to help.
A P&G team with research and development, engineering and supply chain expertise came together to help design, develop and test a pre-production unit in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati and John’s team – more than half of whom are P&G retirees like John.
The team knew the ventilator required special design and assembly considerations in order to be viable in the current crisis. So, they designed a unit that could be easily and quickly fabricated and assembled, using in-stock and readily available medical grade materials.
With that goal and the FDA Emergency Use Authorization, behind them, Venti-Now is working to get to market quickly and direct the units to areas where they are needed most.
As Venti-Now details on its website, the ventilator fills a special and critical need to get oxygen-enriched air to patients in the early stages of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) related to COVID- 19. It also frees up scarce full-featured ventilators and can be used in areas where high-end equipment might be unavailable. It does not require continuous supervision to operate and therefore limits exposure for healthcare workers, who are among those with the highest COVID-19 infection rates. It’s portable and can be carried with one hand for easy transport.
P&G Chief Research, Development and Innovation Officer Kathy Fish supported the project from the beginning. “John and I worked together at P&G before he retired, so I had experienced firsthand his ingenuity and passion for excellence,” Kathy said. “It was clear that extended across John’s team, the design and in the tremendous opportunity for Venti-Now to meet a critical need. It’s been incredibly inspiring to see the best of P&G past and present come together for one common mission – to save lives.”