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New US Company to Deliver Slimmed-down Ventilators

Darren Saravis, CEO of BreathDirect and Nectar, speaks during an interview on the manufacturing of ventilators for COVID-19 patients at the Evolve manufacturing facility in Fremont, Calif., March 26, 2020.

As U.S. demand for ventilators skyrockets during the coronavirus pandemic, smaller medical device makers are simplifying their designs and pushing other work aside to make more of the devices.

A California company is pulling out all all the stops to deliver a slimmed-down version of a ventilator that it says can meet the needs of about 90% of critical care patients.

Nectar Inc., a medical device engineering firm, launched a new company, BreathDirect, to make the new devices at a cost of $10,000 per unit with simpler settings than other models.

For BreathDirect and Nectar CEO Darren Saravis, it was more than just a business decision to make the desperately needed devices. It was personal.

"For me, this is really about me not having any other choice. I would never have been able to live with myself if I didn't step up and do this, because I have the ability, I have the team, we have the resources here, and I don't want to wake up and know that I was responsible for people not living."

Saravis said his team's goal was to produce 3,500 ventilators per week in May and 40,000 ventilators per month by June.
To hit the deadline, Saravis tapped contract manufacturer Evolve Manufacturing Technologies Inc., a Fremont, California, a company that is already registered with the Food and Drug Administration and is also making coronavirus test kits.