Iran’s Barkat Ventures is a knowledge-based institute affiliated with the headquarters for the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO). Established as EIKO’s executive arm in the development of the country’s knowledge-based economy, Barkat Ventures’ mission is the creation and expansion of the ecosystem and infrastructure required for the development of knowledge and knowledge-based activities in the country, according to barkatventures.com.
To these ends, it has placed on its agenda making the maximum use of the capabilities of domestic scientists and experts and expanding cooperation with the country’s institutes and organizations involved in the fields of science, technology and the knowledge-based economy.
Commenting on his company’s activities in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Peyman Bakhshandeh-Nejad added, “In cooperation with a number of researchers of a new technology-based firm, we started our activities at Sharif [University’s] Advanced Technologies Incubator in 2014. Two years later, the company produced its first oxygen concentrator as part of a project funded by Barkat Ventures.”
He said in the beginning, the company was highly dependent on imports for manufacturing the device, purchasing almost 80 percent of the spare parts from other countries, noting that, however, in 2018 EIKO supported the company, enabling it to produce oxygen concentrators without having to rely on imports.
Since late 2019, Bakhshandeh-Nejad added, domestic production of all spare parts required for manufacturing the device has begun.
He said, previously, the company’s production line manufactured five oxygen concentrators per day, noting that following the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, the number of the produced devices has increased to 30 per day.
In the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, EIKO placed on its agenda increased investments in the domestic production of ventilators and other medical equipment required for combatting the virus. This was done in view of the rise in domestic demand for such products and due to the unjust US sanctions on the Iran impeding imports of such devices.
In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran. The sanctions have hindered, among other things, the delivery of international humanitarian aid, medicine and medical equipment to Iran, particularly, now that the country is fighting against the coronavirus.
Bakhshandeh-Nejad added the price of his company’s oxygen concentrators are far lower than their foreign counterparts, saying his firm has also made significant progress in terms of providing after-sales service since it cut dependence on imports.
In addition to his company, he said, two other domestic firms are also manufacturing the device, noting that one of them has launched a Chinese assembly line for production of oxygen concentrators.
The company’s CEO put domestic demand for oxygen concentrators at 2,000 per month, stressing that the current level of production meets the country’s demand for the device.
Bakhshandeh-Nejad said that since 2018, his company has begun manufacturing a type of ventilator known as BiPAP – standing for bi-level positive airway pressure.
“The machine was selected in 2018 as the most unique medical equipment produced in Iran.”
He said earlier that his company manufactured only up to three ventilators per day, adding that since the coronavirus outbreak, its daily production stands at 10 machines.
“We have delivered 250 previously-produced ventilators to the Health Ministry since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.”
Bakhshandeh-Nejad added his company has recently finished making a ventilator exclusive to coronavirus patients known as average volume-assured pressure support (AVAPS).
He noted that mass production of the newly-built machine will begin in a few days, saying the company is expected to manufacture 20 AVAPS ventilators per day.
“The Health Ministry has announced that it currently needs 1,500 AVAPS ventilators.”
The coronavirus, which causes a respiratory illness, emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province late last year and is currently affecting a large number of countries and territories across the globe. It has infected and killed people in a large number of countries.