Entrepreneur creates new recipe for oxygen
OxySure's potentially lifesaving invention is making its way now to schools around the country.
(Fortune Small Business) -- When an elementary school pupil collapsed with low blood oxygen levels in Orangeburg, S.C. last year, nurse Ashlyn Gray reached for a device that had been delivered just the day before.
"It arrived not a day too soon," she says of the emergency oxygen generator made by OxySure, a small company based in Frisco, Texas.
The child recovered, thanks in part to that timely dose of oxygen. In the past, schools and other public institutions have avoided keeping medical oxygen on-site because pressurized cylinders - the traditional containers for the gas - require regular maintenance and can explode if they're mishandled. OxySure founder Julian Ross hopes his invention will change that.
OxySure's Model 615 is an FDA-approved device that creates oxygen from a chemical reaction. At the turn of a dial, two inert powders and a liquid combine to generate more than 15 minutes of medically pure oxygen that a layperson can administer while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
Ross, 42, didn't invent this method of synthesizing oxygen. But while other companies have tried to market similar devices in the past, he claims that only his delivers an adequate volume of gas to treat a medical emergency. The exact recipe is proprietary, but the engineering enables simultaneous chemical reactions in two chambers within the Model 615 that help create adequate pressure as the oxygen exits through a single tube.
Since OxySure's oxygen generator went on sale in early 2008, the $350 machine has attracted a small but growing following. Recent federal and state laws encouraging or requiring the placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public places have been a boon. Working with AED distributors across the country, Ross has marketed OxySure's machine as a logical accompaniment. Some distributors even bundle his oxygen generator with AED units.
Last year Ross sold oxygen generators to schools in 15 states. He plans to move up to 10,000 units in 2009 and hopes to adapt his invention for medically challenging environments such as mines and airplanes.To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.