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“I didn’t know Frank Baylis was a politician when we signed them for the contract,” he said. “They are the largest, privately held Canadian medical device company. Who else should I have partnered with?”
He said Baylis is helping manufacture the devices because they have the clean-room facilities necessary to keep the units sterile.
“I’m not making them in an auto parts plant.”
Jamieson isn’t the only one learning to build a ventilator from scratch. StarFish Medical, a company that normally designs and consults on medical devices, got into the business and is expected to deliver 7,500 devices for a total cost of $169 million.
John Walmsley, a vice president with the company, said they found a design from an inventor in Winnipeg. The real challenge was finding parts and their design had to be structured around what they could find.
“There were a lot of design decisions that had to be made very fast, people worked long hours, seven days a week.”
Walmsley said they reached out at one point to Yorkville Instruments, a company that makes musical instruments, amplifiers and other audio equipment. The ventilator needed a lot of switches and dials and the volume had gone down on the music industry.
“There wasn’t a lot of music being done, not a lot of people buying amps at that time. So they stepped up. And we’re happy to use their components.”
Walmsley said his company has received approval from Health Canada for their unit and now expects to start delivering units quickly. He said when they have completed this order they may stay in the business.