Cambridge companies unite to meet the COVID-19 ventilator challenge

Team Discussion

Multiple authors

On 13 March, a group of leading medical device development companies from Cambridge was asked by the UK Government to assist in the rapid development and manufacture of ventilators to meet increased hospital requirements, caused by coronavirus.

Cambridge Consultants, PA Consulting, Sagentia, Team Consulting and TTP plc took up the challenge and MetLase provided industrial support. These companies represent the renowned Cambridge Cluster, Europe’s largest technology hub, with more than 1,500 companies employing tens of thousands.

Link to the UK Government’s statement.

The UK’s engineering community has responded to the government’s call for help. These five specialist medical device development organisations are applying a range of disciplines, including electronics, software development, mechanical engineering, human factors, design, thermodynamics and regulatory knowledge to help solve the UK ventilator challenge.

This initiative unites competing businesses during an unprecedented public health emergency. With hundreds of experts working night and day, and in close cooperation, the Cambridge community has come together to address this challenge.

The companies are all working to a specification published by the government, established in response to the clinical interventions understood to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19. While working on separate, parallel designs, the group is collaborating closely to support each other.

High volume supply and extremely rapid manufacture are the key objectives, while remaining subject to testing and approval through the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency – MHRA. This is a huge technical challenge. In broad terms the companies are taking a development process that would normally take 5-6 years and attempting to deliver within 5-6 weeks, and against the background of distributed teams observing government separation guidelines.

Media enquiries can be directed to

Wayne Bontoft at the Cabinet Office press office: wayne.bontoft@cabinetoffice.gov.uk
T: 0207 2766326
M: 07858 923590

Signed by Cambridge Consultants (part of Altran), MetLase (a joint venture owned by Unipart and Rolls Royce), PA Consulting, Sagentia (a division of Science Group plc), Team Consulting (an employee owned trust), and TTP plc (an employee owned company).