It sits in an unassuming building on Boleskine Road but Saanich medical design company StarFish Medical will now play a major role in the nationwide effort to fight COVID-19.
“We’re working with Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians and a group led by StarFish Medical to produce up to 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his Tuesday morning press conference.
The federal government has tasked the group not just to design and manufacture a made-in-Canada ventilator, but to put the process on fast forward.
“Usually product like this would take three years and what we’re talking about is something in a very small number of months,” said StarFish Medical CEO and President Scott Phillips.
But Phillips says his company is up to the challenge. Their team has been developing high-tech medical devices for more than 20 years.
“So the ventilator initiative is exactly what we do for a living all day long, this is a different product than we would normally work on but exactly the same kind of thing,” said Phillips.
He says he already has 25 engineers working on the project along with about 20 other support staff. Together they are sourcing materials, designing, and testing.
The goal is to make 30,000 life-saving ventilators whether Canada ends up needing them or not.
“If we end up making more ventilators than Canada needs because Canadians continued to stay social distancing, continued to follow best health advice, that’ll be great news and we will have ventilators to share with other countries that are facing more difficult circumstances,” said Trudeau.
Phillips says it’s an honour to be part of such a critical global effort.
“We feel very privileged our skills are exactly what’s needed in this time and we’re happy to step up,” he said.