How does the history of fluidIQ align with the mission of SAMS?
FluidIQ is honored to be a member of Securing America’s Medicines and Supply (SAMS). Like other SAMS members, we are a U.S.-based company. From our beginnings in the early days of the pandemic, fluidIQ has been fully focused on helping to improve access to emergency resuscitation tools that can be used in the midst of disasters, pandemics and other crises. Our team of emergency and respiratory medicine experts, engineers, patient advocates and industry veterans stands with SAMS in the critical mission to strengthen the security of the nation’s medical supply chain so that our nation is better prepared to manage health emergencies of every conceivable kind now and in the future.
We’ve seen a variety of medical innovations seek to respond to the evolving problems of our day. What problems does fluidIQ address in the domestic medical supply chain?
FluidIQ was founded in the early days of the pandemic to respond to the crises related to emergency breathing support. What we saw that drove us to action was that America’s supplies of breathing support tools were not only inadequate in sheer numbers, but were not well-maintained in the stockpile. In addition, many of the tools were unavailable to EMS. We designed a lipstick-sized resuscitator that can be 3D printed on demand. Called the HOPE inVent, it doesn’t require electricity, batteries or sensors making it ideal for stockpiling and using in situations where traditional ventilation is unavailable or not accessible. In addition, the inVent device automates the work of breathing for a patient – something that is currently largely a manual process that require multiple medical experts to attend to a single patient. The inVent is the first of many technologies we are developing that are based on the science of fluidics and don’t require electronics or batteries to operate and reduces U.S. reliance on sensors and electronic capabilities outside of the country.
Why is designing, developing, and deploying fluidic solutions important to improving the quality of life for American patients? How does fluidIQ lead in this innovation?
By designing, developing and deploying fluidics-based solutions, fluidIQ can provide solutions in the medical space that can improve lives of American patients by providing access to medical devices that may be in short supply or are simply unavailable in any number of emergency situations. FluidIQ is a public benefit company and our very mission is based on improving lives. We want to empower EMS experts even in the most rural parts of America to have tools they need and that will make their jobs easier so they can focus on patients. With medical experts and patient advocates on our founding team, we believe the way to innovate is to always keep the needs of patients and the medical providers working to save them at the center of everything we do.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused significant hold-ups in the supply chain, particularly in the medical products space. Does fluidIQ have to overcome these supply chain hurdles in producing the HOPE inVent?
FluidIQ is unique in the respiratory and medical device spaces. Our company does not rely on the parts that other ventilator and resuscitator companies need, and this avoids many of the challenges they face during these times. HOPE inVent is built using the science of fluidics and uses no sensors, electrical components, or batteries. It is 3D printed and is capable of being printed on the demand most anywhere in the world. It can also be injection molded in mass quantities relatively quickly.
What obstacles have you faced in developing and delivering your product to the American patient?
FluidIQ does not have FDA clearance for our HOPE inVent device. We are currently in the process of seeking regulatory clearance in the US. So, our technology is not available for sale.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of disaster preparedness, as several medical products and critical drugs went into shortage. How have members of your company participated in disaster preparedness? Why is this important to your mission as a company?
FluidIQ came together as a result of the biggest crisis in American healthcare in a century. Our team is made up of members who understand preparedness and understand respiratory threats.
Our Chief Medical Officer, Brian Froelke, MD, is an emergency medicine doctor and disaster preparedness expert. He helped co-found an organization called the Interstate Disaster Medical Collaborative during the Joplin, Missouri tornadoes that caused massive devastation a decade ago. He works regularly on efforts across the U.S. and around the world to respond to and prepare for medical needs in disasters. That is why he was interested in joining a group of engineers and patient advocates working to provide emergency breathing support tools early in the pandemic.
Our Chief of Clinical R&D, Brian Walsh, Ph.D., is a respiratory therapist (RT) by specialty with a background in emergency response. He has worked in crises during the pandemic and has been involved in important research during the pandemic. He has also trained many RTs who have been deployed during the pandemic.
Our team has patient advocates, including Teresa Barnes, President, and Dolly Kervitsky, VP of Clinical Affairs, who saw firsthand the impact the pandemic had on medical experts, particularly pulmonary and critical care centers, and on patients and families. Dolly spent 30 years working at a major pulmonary and critical care center. Dolly and Teresa heard the daily struggles of medical teams trying to find the supplies they needed and heard from them their challenges in dealing with the nation’s stockpile that was not prepared for a respiratory crisis.
Matt Vogelhuber, R.Ph., served as an advisor to fluidIQ since its earliest days and later became Chairman of the Board. When the founding CEO and friend, Chris Jung, passed away suddenly in the fall of 2021, he accepted the role as CEO to help the company continue on its public benefit mission to provide breathing support to emergency and disaster preparedness experts anywhere in the world. Understanding the supply chain issues would stall others in the market, he knew fluidIQ could supply emergency needs for patients even in the most resource deplete environments.
Scot Dubé, fluidIQ’s VP of Sales & Marketing, is trained to respond to diving emergencies.
FluidIQ has a team member who is a military reservist and is always thinking in terms of preparedness. You could say the fluidIQ team was born to be innovative, nimble, creative, and responsive in the midst of crisis as it was founded in the early days of the pandemic during some of the most challenging days of our time.