| April 8, 2020
In early March, as Canada was just coming to grips with the gravity of COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on businesses across the country to begin to manufacture medical supplies if they could. For Christine Goudie, co-founder and CEO of Granville Biomedical, answering that call was a “no-brainer.”
Granville Biomedical, co-founded by Goudie and Crystal Northcott, designs and manufactures women’s health simulation models for surgical training. Their female anatomical models and procedural task trainers are used by healthcare educators around the world. Their models are employed as training demonstration tools to address injuries caused by things like childbirth, disease, and FGM. The products are created and designed by a group of medical device designers along with a team of mechanical and biomedical engineers and are manufactured using 3D printing technology.
“Our first thought, when the prime minister put out the call to manufacturers was, How can we help?” says Goudie. She decided to reach out to her own team, and the response was tremendous. “It was immediately all hands on deck,” she recalls.
The team quickly got to work coming up with ideas. Granville Biomedical can produce class 1 and class 2 medical devices. That meant that ventilators were outside their purview, but by adapting their existing 3D printing capability, they could quickly pivot their business to make PPE face shields that are in high demand by healthcare workers across the nation. In no time, the company was designing and creating mock-ups that could quickly go into production. They have now applied to Health Canada to produce class 1 medical devices to address the shortage of personal protection equipment.
“Our team has a robust set of interdisciplinary skills, and because we’re a small company we can be agile and we’re ready to adapt as needed,” says Goudie.
In the early pivot design phase, Goudie and Northcott encouraged the team to bring anything to the table. “Crises are extremely stressful, but they can also brew creativity,” Goudie points out. “People can be shy about their ideas, though. I wanted this to be an opportunity for everyone to put their ideas forward.”
So far, the Granville Biomedical team has developed several simple devices that are designed to help everyone stay safe both during the pandemic and in the future. In addition to their PPE face shields, the company is producing non-surgical, cloth face masks, push button keychains for elevators, and c-hooks for opening doors and latches. They’re all devised to help users reduce contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.
When COVID-19 hit Canada, Goudie assumed that the demand for the company’s anatomical models might drop off since healthcare providers were focused on fighting the pandemic. But Granville Biomedical’s products play a key role in helping to train healthcare providers and for patient education and the company continues to receive and fill orders for hospitals and training facilities around the world. The company’s main focus remains promoting women’s health around the globe.
To find out more about Granville Biomedical, visit granvillebiomedical.ca