Manufacturing is alive in NYC, it’s smart and helping fight Covid-19.
A new type of low-cost ventilator – priced at $3,300 vs standard ventilators, which typically cost more than $30,000 – has been developed in only one month thanks to two New York based entrepreneurs: Scott Cohen, co-founder of the technology center New Lab, which is in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Marcel Botha, founder and CEO of 10XBeta, a “product development firm creating future-shifting products where speed-to-market is paramount,” which is in the New Lab.
Early March, Cohen and Botha got a call from an Italian friend warning that a shortage of ventilators was a critical problem in Italy, and that it soon would be in the United States, too, write the New York Times. So Cohen and Botha accepted the challenge to urgently build a ventilator: first, they found a design that was developed in 2010 by the class of Alex Slocum, a renowned mechanical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and got Mr. Slocum and a group of other M.I.T. faculty and students work to upgrade the design to help coronavirus patients. Second, they found the place where to buld the ventilator: a former perfume factory in Long Island City, Queens, that is now home to a high-tech manufacturer, Boyce Technologies: it’s a 100,000-square-foot facility that combines engineering and production with robots, a clean room, and circuitry and software design departments.
Cohen and Botha also convinced the New York City’s Economic Development Corporation – an agency of the city government – to back the project: NYCEDC gave the startup a $100,000 research grant and then a nearly $10 million agreement to buy 3,000 of the basic ventilators.
The Food and Drug Administration has already allowed the use of the Spiro wave under FDA Emergency Use Authorization during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
In the meantime New York city’s situation is getting better, hospital admissions are trending down, and intensive-care units seem to have enough ventilators. So the Spiro Wave can be send to other parts of the US in need or even abroad.
You can say that the NYC startup community is able and willing to BUILD, as Marc Andreessen encourages America to do.