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Manufacturers receive $21M in funding from NGen for COVID-19 equipment


Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), which facilitates the country’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, has so far invested more than $21 million in projects for technology, equipment and medical devices needed to fight COVID-19.

Since NGen announced its $50-million COVID-19 funding program in late March, it has received over 900 expressions of interest from advanced manufacturing companies across Canada.

The projects approved so far include the development and manufacturing of ventilators and components, test kits, face shields and a coating material that kills bacteria and viruses on contact (see more below).

“Manufacturers across Canada have stepped up to the challenge. Their capacity to innovative and mobilize advanced technologies has allowed them to respond rapidly, both in scaling up production of health care products and in delivering new solutions to front-line workers,”  says Jayson Myers, CEO of Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, in a statement.

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“It’s really been an all-of-Canada approach. Collaboration has been key in fighting COVID-19, and it will remain important as we prepare to open up the economy once again.”

Some of the projects that have been approved include:

Canadian Emergency Ventilators/Starfish Medical (Toronto, Ont.)

This project is providing ventilators for use in COVID-19 triage scenarios. The project is manufacturing what will be known as the “Winnipeg Ventilator,” which will be suitable for large-scale manufacturing and use during the COVID-19 crisis.

To date, a functional system has been developed, assembled and tested that demonstrates the functional performance of the device in healthcare settings. The core technology has also been licensed and cleared for use by the FDA in the U.S.

BOMImed (Winnipeg, Man.)

Winnipeg-based BOMImed, which manufactures and distributes airway management, anesthesia, critical care, warming therapy and patient monitoring products, is collaborating with Synergy Mouldworks (Brantford, Ont.), and Precision ADM (Winnipeg) to rapidly develop and launch production of high-quality, fast-to-produce and cost-effective ventilator breathing circuit components.

Molded Precision Components (Oro-Medonte, Ont.)

Molded Precision Components (MPC), an engineering and injection molding company, is working with Sterling Industries (Concord, Ont.), to design and mass produce a personal protective face shield.

MPC will be moulding the headband strap portion of the face shield, while Sterling will be producing the face shield portion holding the strap. MPC expects to mass produce up to 450,000 face shields per day.

Mosaic (Toronto, Ont.)

Mosaic is a digital manufacturing company using 3D printing technology and multi-material printing processes to produce a wide range of products.

NGen’s funding will enable the company to rapidly produce and distribute 45,000 face shields over a three-month period.

Burloak Technologies (Burlington, Ont.)

Burloak, a supplier of precision manufactured 3D-printed metal parts to the aerospace industry, is working with Hamilton Health Sciences to design, develop and manufacture a full-face shield to address the need for specific identified medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prototype product is in trial and Burloak is tooling up to be producing 5,000 pieces per week.

Sona Nanotech (Halifax, N.S.)

Sona is using its proprietary nanotechnology to develop a rapid point-of-care test to screen for coronavirus. The test will provide users with a quick-response lateral-flow test to screen patients. The test is expected to produce results in five to 15 minutes and is anticipated to be priced similarly to other tests used to diagnose infectious diseases.

Response Biomedical (Vancouver, B.C.)

Response Biomedical has used its proprietary RAMP platform technology, a fluorescent-based lateral-flow point-of-care system with Health Canada clearance, to produce a rapid, economical and accurate COVID-19 diagnostic test for use in point-of-care settings near patients or in the community.

The aim of the project is to develop and manufacture, at large scale, a novel SARS-Coronavirus-2 RAMP point-of-care test that will enable the rapid and accurate triaging of patients presenting with symptoms of COVID-19 in 15 minutes or less.

Envision SQ (Guelph, Ont.)

EnvisionSQ is a joint effort with University of Guelph to develop an innovative self-sterilization clear coating product (EnvisionSQ Clear Coating – NanoCleanSQ) that can be easily applied to hard surfaces to help prevent spread of the coronavirus.

NanoCleanSQ kills bacteria and viruses on contact, particularly coronaviruses, and is safe and durable, providing long-lasting antibacterial and antiviral protection.

The NGen COVID-19 funding will allow EnvisionSQ to scale up production of NanoCleanSQ within 12 weeks to produce more than 1,000 litres per week, enough product to protect over 1 million doorknobs, 75,000 km of handrails, or the interiors of 8750 elevators, 400 city buses or 200 passenger airplanes per week.

To prioritize projects in terms of immediate benefits, NGen worked with the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Canada’s National Research Council, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.