A SCANNER firm has announced its plans to start the manufacture and sale of medical ventilators in the UK and across the world, to support the coronavirus response.

Kromek – which is headquartered at Netpark, in Sedgefield, expects to begin production of ventilators before the end of April 2020.

It hopes to produce up to 2,000 units within twelve weeks, with 1,000 units available within eight weeks.

Following the signing of a license agreement with Metran Co, which is expected shortly, Kromek intends to sell the ventilators in the UK and globally.

For over 30 years, Metran has specialised in the development and manufacture of respiratory equipment.

It hopes to offer an effective solution to the current Covid-19 crisis where ventilators need to be manufactured rapidly to meet public health demands.

Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Kromek, said: “We have been working through the British Embassy in Japan with substantial help from the Department of International Trade and are delighted to be progressing this technology transfer.

"By combining our existing manufacturing skills with Metran’s proven technology, we expect to commence the manufacture of these robust ventilators from next week and deliver in a rapid manner. Any procurement of this equipment from Kromek is expected to have the additional benefit of safeguarding and creating employment in the North-East as well as contributing to this region’s fight against Covid-19. We look forward to the ongoing relationship with Metran.”

Dan Nitta, President of Metran, added: “We have seen an unprecedented demand for ventilation equipment in recent months.

"We realised at an early stage of this crisis that we needed to think beyond our in-house manufacturing capability if we were to make a substantial impact.

"We reached out globally to find partners who could help us to expand our capacity, and we are pleased to form this relationship with Kromek.

"With a combination of Metran’s experience in the ventilation field and Kromek’s skill as a designer and manufacturer of advanced electronic equipment, we believe that we can make a substantial contribution to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.”