NASA’s JPL selects Planet Innovation to manufacture ventilator in Australia

9 June 2020

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has selected Planet Innovation as the only Australian manufacturer of a new ventilator tailored for COVID-19 patients. PI is among 13 international companies and eight U.S. manufacturers selected from more than 300 applications globally.

The prototype, which was created by JPL engineers in just 37 days, received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on April 30.

Called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), the high-pressure ventilator was designed to use one-seventh of the parts of a traditional ventilator, relying on parts already available in supply chains. It offers a simpler, more affordable option for treating critical patients while freeing up traditional ventilators for those with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms. Its flexible design means it also can be modified for use in field hospitals.

The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at Caltech, which owns the patents and software for VITAL and manages JPL for NASA, offered the license for the device free to selected companies. Planet Innovation was the only Australian company selected, with 331 companies in total expressing interest in licensing the device.

Planet Innovation co-CEO Stuart Elliott said: “PI has a global reputation for being able to rapidly scale the manufacturing of regulated devices and complex instruments, and when the opportunity to partner with NASA’s JPL came to us via the CSIRO and the Victorian Government, we jumped at it. PI is all about taking great tech and building products and businesses that have a positive impact on the world. Nothing could be more aligned to our values than working with Caltech and the team at JPL in manufacturing these devices.”

VITAL was developed with input from doctors and medical device manufacturers. A prototype of the JPL device was successfully tested by the Human Simulation Lab in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai on April 23.

Read the full news article.


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