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Testing medical products like N-95 respirator masks to fight COVID-19

Success Story Info

  • Organization: 

    Orthopaedic Innovation Centre (OIC)

  • Region:  Manitoba
  • Impact: 

    Manitoba company enhances testing services and becomes an internationally accredited laboratory for medical products including N95 respirator masks.

  • Project: 

    OIC testing equipment purchase

  • Category:  Innovation
  • Story Date:  2021-05-12
Trevor Gascoyne, Director of Operations, Orthopaedic Innovation Centre in Winnipeg

Government and industry are collaborating to ensure the health and safety of Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic. One example is the transformational work of Winnipeg's Orthopaedic Innovation Centre (OIC). The OIC started in 2010 as a partnership between the Concordia Joint Replacement Group, the Concordia Foundation, the Province of Manitoba and Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). Precision ADM was spun out of the OIC's know-how making medical devices and aerospace products.

In response to the pandemic, Precision ADM pivoted to make personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical products that were in extreme need. The OIC applied to WD to fund its new PPE product-testing division. It was then able to provide crucial testing to Precision ADM and other western Canadian PPE manufacturers aiming to meet Canadian demand. With OIC and Precision ADM working so closely together, they were able to produce a high volume of PPE and diagnostic products locally, and bring them to the Canadian market.

The OIC stresses how important WD and other partners were to growing their company, as well as starting up other firms in the biotechnology sector. WD funding helped create over 150 local jobs. It led to millions of dollars of R&D, and millions of dollars of commercial value in Manitoba and Western Canada.

Testing medical products like N-95 respirator masks to fight COVID-19 (length: 3:58 minutes)

Transcript: Testing medical products like N-95 respirator masks to fight COVID-19

[music]

(Text on screen: All COVID-19 protocols were followed during the making of this film.)

(Text on screen: Orthopaedic Innovation Centre)

(Interior view of the OIC Precision Labs)

(TREVOR GASCOYNE, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, ORTHOPAEDIC INNOVATION CENTRE INC.) So I should look at you not at the camera, I guess?

(Interviewer - voiceover) Yeah. (Laughs)

(TREVOR GASCOYNE) OK, perfect.

MARTIN PETRAK, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ORTHOPAEDIC INNOVATION CENTRE INC.) 5, 6, 7, 8.

(INTERVIEWER - voiceover) OK, we’re good.

(MARTIN PETRAK) Yeah? OK.

(Exterior view of the OIC Precision Labs)

(MARTIN PETRAK) The Orthopaedic Innovation Centre started in 2010 as a partnership between the Concordia Joint Replacement Group, the Concordia Foundation, and at that point in time with the Province of Manitoba and Western Economic Diversification.

(Scene of medical devices)

(TREVOR GASCOYNE) So we provide three main types of services.

(Various scenes of technicians using equipment and device testing)

(TREVOR GASCOYNE - voiceover) Our first is our clinical research service, where we work with patients to enroll them in a variety of different research studies. We also do medical device testing of orthopaedic implants. So we test durability of joint replacements, hip and knee replacements, and then most recently with the support from WD, we now test personal protective equipment in our lab here.

(Scene of equipment)

(TREVOR GASCOYNE) In response to the pandemic occurring in last March…

(Various scenes of technicians and testing equipment)

(TREVOR GASCOYNE - voiceover) … Precision ADM became very interested in producing PPE and other medical products that were in extreme need during the pandemic, and it made very much sense for Orthopaedic Innovation Centre to be able to test and evaluate those products that they were then making. So, with our two companies working so closely together we were able to commercialize and produce a high volume of products locally here in Canada, for the Canadian market.

(Scene of equipment and technician)

(TREVOR GASCOYNE) So the main test of PPE is how efficiently it filters the air.

(Various scenes of PPE testing, equipment and technicians)

(TREVOR GASCOYNE - voiceover) So we do something called Particulate Filtration Efficiency. We create a cloud of particles, we fire them at a mask and measure how efficiently it removes those particles from the air that we’re challenging the mask with. We do some other testing here that are related to how well the mask fits on the face, as well as how easy or difficult it is to breathe through the mask. Some of our more specialty tests involve how well the mask resists fluids hitting the surface, so if they’re used in a surgical environment, as well we have to measure the flammability of the mask because it is an article of clothing.

(Scene of mask testing)

(MARTIN PETRAK) We started to learn more about additive manufacturing and 3-D printing.

(Various scenes of medical devices, technicians using equipment and device testing)

(MARTIN PETRAK - voiceover) And we started very much learning that 3-D printing could be used as a tool to manufacture medical devices in a customized, patient-specific format. We started developing some intellectual property around the materials, and the testing of those materials, and there was a natural progression for us to then look at how do we commercialize additive manufacturing in a much greater extent. And that’s where WD came in again and helped us create a new capability by providing support towards a hub for actually medical and aerospace manufacturing using metal 3-D printing. And at that point in time, there was a natural creation to actually start up a new company, and that company was called Precision ADM.

(MARTIN PETRAK)

So actually Precision ADM was a by-product of the Orthopaedic Innovation Centre testing capabilities to a manufacturing state, where now we could test and manufacture products in Manitoba, for the first time in the country.

 

(Various scenes of medical equipment and device testing)

(MARTIN PETRAK) I think it’s important for people to understand how important WD and other partners were to the growth of the Orthopaedic Innovation Centre. They helped us grow not only within our own company, but start up other companies. We were able to, through this establishment of other companies and other organizations, generate 150 jobs, create millions of dollars of research and development, and then millions of dollars of commercial value in Manitoba and Western Canada.

(WD wordmark)

(Canada wordmark)

[Music stops]

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