NH’s Vapotherm plans big expansion of respiratory device production
Up to 350 more jobs seen at Exeter manufacturing facility
New Hampshire-based medical device maker Vapotherm Inc. says it is expanding its manufacturing capabilities in Exeter as it focuses on developing and commercializing its Hi-VNI technology products used to treat patients in respiratory distress.
The company said the expansion is expected to allow it to increase production of its Precision Flow systems by up to 20 times above pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels. The expansion could mean up to an additional 350 manufacturing jobs at the Exeter facility, the company said.
Vapotherm described the Precision Flow Hi-VNI system as “an advanced high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) system” that uses high to treat the respiratory distress experienced by Covid-19 patients.
CEO Joe Army said the scaling up of production is in response to future additional waves of Covid-19.
“As hospitals and governments across the United States and around the world prepare for potential future waves of Covid-19 patients and subsequent pandemics involving respiratory disease, we are expanding manufacturing capabilities to be in a position to meet the needs of hospitals and patients for our therapy. The expansion also provides us with optionality and flexibility when thinking about our ability to bring new products to market faster.”
Army said the company has been seeing interest from domestic and foreign governments, including a $9.9 million blanket purchase agreement from the Department of Defense that was awarded on May 22 to support the acquisition of Precision Flow units by the country’s 51 DoD hospitals. Under the agreement, the hospitals can seek funding, and if approved, place orders to acquire the Precision Flow devices.
According to Dr. Michael McQueen, vice president of medical affairs at Vapotherm, Covid-19 respiratory distress is characterized in particular by patients needing more oxygen. He said Hi-VNI system provides more precise control over the amount of oxygen being delivered to patients than conventional systems because the Vapotherm system allows flow rates and oxygen concentrations to be adjusted independent of each other.
He said, “This is vital in treatment of the respiratory distress experienced by Covid-19 patients as published data on critical care patients has suggested that the delivery of either too much or too little oxygen can lead to increased mortality rates.”