Steve Bull: Breathe Global Was Born Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic

July 10, 2022

Breathe Global was born early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

We assembled a team of doctors, inventors, builders, and hardware and software experts and set to work trying to design and build safe, inexpensive, easy-to-use, negative-pressure assisted breathing devices that could be worn on the torso without limiting the user’s everyday activities.

The Venti, a wearable iron lung, can be produced with easily-accessible materials regardless of where you are in the world.

Tell us about yourself?

Breathe Global’s CEO Steve Bull, inventor, lead designer, and veteran entrepreneur in medical devices and remote patient monitoring, manages Venti development; CBO Dr. Nilay Shah, neurologist, has exited three successful medical start-ups; CMO Dr. Harvey Hawes, trauma surgeon at VGH, manages the interface between clinical medicine and engineering. Chairman of the Advisory Board Dr. Talon Jones wrote the white paper, “Cuirass Therapy: A Clinical Summary,” under peer review.

Deepak Dileepkumar, our electrical engineer, has successfully brought three medical devices to market; Dr. Norma Braun, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine, Senior Attending MD, Mt. Sinai Health Systems, consults on the device design; Dr. Nancy Paris, former head of BCIT-Make+ is providing QMS support; Dano Carbone, respiratory therapist is a NPV specialist and has worked with over 75 iron lung patients.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Write down each business suggestion and assumption made on a 3×5 card with the owner’s name and date and then periodically reorder the cards, keeping the best ideas at the front.

What problem does your business solve?

Caused by smoking, air pollution, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death worldwide.

But 50% of COPD patients hate their masks because they are invasive, claustrophobic, and require constant maintenance.

The Venti is an all-in-one, wearable, maskless cuirass negative pressure ventilator that can be used by patients in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and at home. It is unisex, low maintenance, more comfortable than a mask, and affordable.

The Venti allows a high level of mobility and social interaction during wear. The patient can eat and talk normally, taking procedures and regaining greater ownership of their own healthcare while receiving assistance with their breathing.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

In the early COVID-19 pandemic my co-founders and I witnessed the need that patients had for assistance with breathing while they fought the COVID-19 virus.

At the same time, hospitals around the world were forced to make difficult choices while facing ventilator shortages and high costs.

So we took this challenge to build a NPV device with an expanded business model of worldwide deployment with regional manufacturing and distribution.

What is your magic sauce?

Many assistive devices require masks, which are socially isolating, uncomfortable, and require constant maintenance.

By making breathing support wearable and comfortable, the Venti revolutionizes pulmonary care worldwide.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

In 5 years the Venti will benefit hospitals, insurance providers, and most importantly, patients all over the world.

Hospitals benefit from a small, inexpensive, uncomplicated and easy to learn assisted breathing device that can be used by a large variety of their patients.

Insurance providers benefit from easy reimbursement due to the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System E0466.

The patients benefit from a good night’s sleep with a device that they’re more likely to use than the alternatives, no unhygienic claustrophobic mask, no complicated cleaning protocol, and no need for expensive replacement parts.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge is maintaining one-to-one communication with all stakeholders.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We need an introduction to anyone who is a pulmonologist or respiratory therapist in North America. Please email me with the Linkedin profile of this contact. Also, if you are interested in investing in this project, give me a call +1 917-912-4132.

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