UK Government Ventilator Programme
On 13 March 2020, Sagentia Limited, a subsidiary of Science Group plc, attended a conference call with a number of other organisations at the request of the UK Government. The UK programme for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (“RMVS”) was initiated.
A team from Sagentia commenced work immediately. In just a few weeks, the Science Group team, led by Sagentia with additional resourcing from across the Group, has developed, prototyped and documented the Sagentia Ventilator. This very intensive development programme is continuing to be funded by the UK Government on a time and materials basis.
The Sagentia Ventilator adopts a different approach from other participants in the UK Government RMVS initiative by primarily using conventional fabrication techniques (eg CNC machining and laser cutting), services which can be supplied by a wide range of manufacturing partners. As such, this innovative design minimises sourced components (which are currently in high demand around the world) and also provides an intuitive user interface to facilitate rapid deployment with minimal training.
A working prototype of the Sagentia Ventilator has been produced and 20 trial units are currently in the process of being manufactured. These units will be used for evaluation and submitted for regulatory approval through the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”). As with any medical device, there can be no certainty that the unit will receive regulatory approval nor that the Sagentia Ventilator will enter production.
A manufacturing contract (“Manufacturing Contract”) is being negotiated by Science Group with the UK Government, for production of 10,000 units of the Sagentia Ventilator conditional upon receiving MHRA approval. These units will be manufactured by a subsidiary of Science Group and/or subcontract manufacturing organisations. The Manufacturing Contract is anticipated to provide Science Group with the necessary working capital and cash flow for materials procurement, labour, overheads and set up costs. Certain long lead-time components have already been ordered to accelerate the manufacturing schedule of the Sagentia Ventilator.
From first concept to manufactured medical device in one month is a formidable challenge set by the UK Government. But these are extraordinary times. The Sagentia Ventilator Team have exhibited incredible dedication and commitment and the Science Group Board is proud of the remarkable achievement and the potential contribution that the Group is making to address the Covid-19 pandemic. Science Group also acknowledge the unprecedented collaboration between normally competitor Cambridge-based consultancies, together with the support provided by the UK Government in their determination to deliver this critical initiative. The RMVS programme has again demonstrated the outstanding and innovative capability of British science and engineering.
About Science Group
Science Group offers independent advisory and leading-edge product development services focused on science and technology initiatives. Its specialist companies Sagentia, Oakland Innovation, OTM Consulting, Leatherhead Food Research, TSG Consulting and Frontier Smart Technologies collaborate closely with their clients in key vertical markets to deliver clear returns on technology and R&D investments.