Who is Exovent? An Overview

The exovent task force formed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis, inspired by calls from the UK Government for rapid innovation to combat the unique challenge presented by this highly contagious and aggressive disease. The team has grown and is composed of eminent medical professionals, scientists, engineers, academics, business professionals and manufacturers. Exovent became a charity in June.

The team focused their efforts on ways to support breathing and have developed a new type of negative pressure ventilatory support device, which is by comparison inexpensive, lightweight, easy to use.

In the space of eight weeks, working with the Warwick Manufacturing Group and with enormous support from Marshall Aerospace & Defence Group, extensively tested prototypes had been developed. With pre-production units ready for clinical trials as of the beginning of November 2020 progress is being made to deliver the UK and Europe device through the MDR approval process with the Medical Health Regulations Authority (MHRA) in the UK to obtain a CE mark. Our intent is to have a fully qualified and CE marked product which can be available to save lives in early 2021.

Our Vision & Mission

Our Vision is for a world where those with a respiratory disease have access to non-invasive breathing support when they need it.

Exovent’s Mission is to save lives and improve patient experience through enabling those with respiratory distress* to be successfully treated with Negative Pressure Breathing Support (NPBS) by:

    • promoting the development of Negative Pressure Breathing Support and related technologies in the UK and worldwide, making safe and affordable treatment available
    • promoting Negative Pressure Breathing Support globally through education, and training
    • Building research and development capability to enhance the understanding of the benefits, limits and disadvantages and implications of Negative Pressure Breathing Support
Board of Trustees

    • Professor David Howard
    • Dave McKeown
    • Professor Anil Patel
    • Dr Heather Lambert
    • Sister Emily Hodges
    • Michael Rose
    • Ejaz Khan
Our Story

The story so far... at last count there have been a little over 40 people contributing to pursuing CNEP and NPV as a viable therapy for the treatment of respiratory diseases, with many more external to the Exovent team supporting us in a huge number of areas from device development to public relations.  We have connected with a number of teams globally through our Pioneer Groups, and have the support of the many clinical teams we have approached.  Currently we are working with individuals and teams from Taiwan, Bangladesh, India, Qatar, Ethiopia, Ghana, Canada, US, and Australia. More details of their progress can be found on our International Pioneer Groups page.

Click through to read more about our story so far, from the very early days in March 2020 to where we find ourselves today (December 2020).

Meet The Team

Professor David Howard - BSc (Physiology), MBBS, MRCSLRCP, FRCS, FRCS(Ed), Hon GCPS, Hon Fellow RSM.

Exovent Chairman

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48 years in the NHS, 20 years working in Africa. Honorary Consultant ENT/Head and Neck Surgeon and Senior Lecturer, UCL since 1984- to present. Honorary Consultant and Professor of Head and Neck Oncology, Imperial College NHS Hospitals, 2008 until present.

Research Interests - all Head and Neck Benign and Malignant Tumours, Laryngology, Laryngotracheal Trauma and Stenosis, Critical Care and High Altitude Medicine.

David McKeown - MEng (Hons) Civil Engineering

Engineer, Board Member and Founder

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Dave Mckeown has worked across maritime, oil  & gas, structural & civil engineering industries.

Since 2012 Dave has specialised in flood protection, asset management and community resilience.  As an incident manager Dave leads teams in preparing and delivering reactionary tactical plans to keep people, property and the environment safe.

He is passionate about leveraging engineering first principles inside truly diverse multi disciplinary teams to deliver  adaptation and innovation in response to a changing world

Dr Malcolm Coulthard

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Clinical - Great North Children's Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust.

Malcolm Coulthard is a retired children’s kidney doctor from Newcastle where he started the first Children’s Kidney Unit for the Northeast of England to dialyse and transplant children. He has a background in physiology – he got a 1st Class Honours degree in Physiology as a medical student, and later did a PhD looking at how premature babies’ kidneys work. He developed the Nidus dialysis machine for babies with a team in Newcastle.

Malcolm has an interest in medicine in low-income countries and chairs Child Health Africa (childhealthafrica.org), a charity set up to improve the management of severe malnutrition and shock.

Ian Joesbury - MBA, B.Eng C.Eng FRAeS, FIMechE

Exovent CEO

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Ian has over 20 years experience working for international businesses in highly regulated environments.

Dr Peter Young - MD FFICM FRCA MB ChB

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Peter Young is a full time consultant in Critical Care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn. His national roles include currently chairing 2 Anaesthesia safety committees, he supports NHS innovation through mentorship of NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs and he is an Alumni Fellow of the NHS Innovation Accelerator Programme. He is a named inventor on 10 active patent families for safety devices which have been or are being developed through the NHS and with industry.

Sister Emily Hodges - RN, BA, Dip HEd

Senior Critical Care Sister, Board Member

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Emily is a Senior Critical Care Sister, with nearly 20 years of working within the environment in different roles, including Development and Governance. Emily has a first class degree in Leading Innovation for Clinical Practitioners.

Emily has a specific interest in patient safety and human factors and has assisted with many innovations along with providing training and presentations both locally and internationally.

Jan van Egmond

Clinical physicist at the Radboud University Medical Centre, Haematology and Anesthesiology from 1975-2010

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Main interests in non-depolarizing muscle relaxants and reversal agents of those (Sugammadex/Brdion), pain and control of anaesthetic depth. Studied Ventilator Induced Lung Injury in a mouse model (2005-2010). (Co)author of more than 150 scientific publications. .

Professor Anil Patel

Consultant anaesthetist at The Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, UCLH.

Board Member

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Professor Anil Patel - qualified 1991 from UCL. Consultant anaesthetist since 1999 at The Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, UCLH.

Research interests include all aspects of airway management. Over 130 publications, 25 book chapters and invited speaker to 37 countries. DAS Professor of Anaesthesia & Airway Management.

Dr Nick Ryan - Beng (hons) PhD

Exovent Engineering Director

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Founder and Director of Steer Energy Solutions Ltd.

Currently working in the energy sector in a fast paced small company environment developing technology for blue chip clients. I work across engineering disciplines from conception to field use, trouble shooting and crisis management.

Notable incidents include taking technology to site in the Gulf of Mexico to help BP in their response to the Macondo oil spill in 2010.

Dr Jim Roberts - BSc MBBS FRCA

Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical Lead for Anaesthesia

The Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital

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Appointed consultant in 2006 and specialised in ENT and Head and Neck anaesthesia, Jim has a keen interest in medical innovation throughout his career, co-inventing the Epidrum with Dr Maan Hasan, and awarded The Cutlers’ Gold Medal for Innovation from The Royal College of Surgeons for this work.

Jim has been a Knowledge Transfer Champion for Medicine at UCL helping to set up the medical innovation pathway at UCLB, and his work is supported by The Biomedical Research Council.

He is also a member of The Bloomsbury Innovation Group, a social enterprise company, and has consulted for GE and Smiths Medical.

Dr Heather Lambert - MBChB, PhD, FRCP, FRCPCH

Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist & Chief Investigator,
Board Member

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Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist and Chief Investigator I-KID study The Great North Children's Hospital Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust 40 years experience in NHS as frontline clinician.

Research experience in clinical, laboratory and medical device development. Clinical experience and training in paediatrics, neonatal intensive care, and nephrology in Newcastle, London, Toronto & Kampala.

James Lee Kennett

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James is co-founder of Paper and Pixels Design, an integrated print and digital design company.

With over 20 years experience working with film, television and corporate clients, Paper and Pixels Design enjoy applying their expertise to charities and start-ups which they feel can make a positive difference to the world.

Jon Harris - Beng (hons) PhD

Engineer, Board Member

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Jon has worked across the FMGC, utility, oil & gas and aerospace sectors in project, operations, field work and R&D roles.

His greatest satisfaction comes from supporting multi-discipline teams to achieve more than they had believed possible.

He is married to a GP, has three children and lives near London, UK.

Gavin Kemp - Operations ERP Management,
Agile, Prince2

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Operations, ERP and IT specialist.

He has a background in Crisis Management, Operations Management and Healthcare, spanning over the last 27 years.

Paul James - M.Sc, B.Sc(Hons)

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Paul has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry working for IBM and Hewlett Packard (DXC). His main role was in designing technical solutions for large corporate clients and Government organisations.

Now retired, as an AWS Certified Solutions Architect, he is interested in continuing to provide outsourcing solutions consultancy.

Dr Neil Downie -  MA, PhD

Exovent Innovation Director

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Professor Neil Downie MA (Oxon) PhD (Imp Coll), formerly head of Exploratory R&D group, Air Products & Chemicals Basingstoke and Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor of Innovation at the University of Surrey.

Developer of recirculating ventilation gas system used for pigs and ECMO recirculation gas system used for humans, US Patent 20060231098.

Dr Diane Ackerly - MA MBBS DRCOG DCH MRCGP(1985)

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Dr Ackerly is an Expert member of Research Ethics Committee and was a GP for over 30 years.

Craig Stretton MBA, CMgr FCMI

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Craig is an experienced Engineering Manager from a military background with a demonstrable history of over 20 years working in Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering and Operations Management in the highly regulated Aerospace Industry.

Andy Fielding - Programme Manager, BSc, MSP, Prince2

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Andy has worked in programme delivery across a wide variety of disciplines for global organisation in multiple sectors, including aviation, logistics, business intelligence and ERP.

He loves to see ideas turn from concept to reality and managing the journey in between.

Jan Patalong

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Jan Patalong is Creative Director at PO'Sh Creative Ltd. Jan and his team work with many global and UK based brands, creating the marketing and design collateral their businesses require. Jan now consults on, and works with the Exovent brand.

His role within Exovent began with a social media post in March 2020 asking for help getting Exovent off the ground. Upon reading this, and wanting to help in any way he could with the fight against COVID 19, Jan put Exovent in touch with his University of Warwick contacts - and that introduction initiated the creation of technology that helped put us where we are today.


Michael Rose - B.Eng

Product Management

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A career professional in product lifecycle management and new product development within the medical device industry and its regulatory framework.

Michael has worked in FTSE100 corporate entities, SMEs, and supported startups to deliver focused products that meet the need of the end user.

He is motivated by knowledge and technology transfer across industries and disciplines to create innovative solutions.

He lives in Canterbury, is married with two daughters, and enjoys cycling and motorcycling. 

Hardy Kapoor - BCA, MIT, Agile Scrum Master

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Founder and Director of Webequator, a Software Development company, supporting clients internationally and across sectors. Hardy has over 20 years experience in the IT industry, delivering high impact, bespoke business critical solutions. Hardy is responsible for the Exovent web platform and roadmap.

Hardy has worked for world-class multi-national companies and Tier 1 outsourcers to significantly improve services and reduce costs across multiple verticals including media & technology, local & central government, pharmaceutical, manufacturing & engineering, financial services, outsourced, offshore & corporate sectors.

DR Cath Rennie - BSc MBBS FRCS Phd

ENT Consultant, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

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Catherine graduated from Imperial College School of Medicine and completed her ENT specialist training in London at the Royal Free, the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear, Great Ormond Street, the Royal Marsden and Charing Cross hospitals. Awarded the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons post-CCT fellowship in rhinology at Imperial.

She has a keen interest in research and medical innovation, and has completed a PhD on sinonasal airflow and transport, and is an honorary research fellow and lecturer in the aeronautics department. With more than 20 published articles in peer-reviewed journals, delivered over 50 national and international presentations, and winning 22 prizes for her research.

Over the last 4 years she has enjoyed working with ENT teams in Ethiopia (setting up an ENT clinic in Axum and training ENT doctors in Mekele.)

Ejaz Khan, CTO Rightmetrics LLC, New York, USA.

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Ejaz has over 25 years’ experience as a senior IT consultant. He has provided services in 31 countries to the financial services industry luminaries including HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Deutsche Bank, NCB-Goldman Sachs, BNP-Paribas, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays UK, Nordea Bank, Zurich Financial Services, Russian Central Bank and IBM.


GP, Covid Assessment Centre and Lothian Unscheduled Care Service, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

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A medical practitioner with a background in HIV/tropical medicine, who worked for many years in the field of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. He played a central role in the initial national roll-out of antiretroviral therapy in Kenya, and more recently spent several years working as the Clinical Director at the Lighthouse Clinic in Malawi, one of largest tertiary referral HIV treatment centres in Africa.

An amateur inventor, with several patents pending, both in the fields of medicine and renewable energy, he has a passion for engineering and a special interest in respiratory physiology, resulting in a fascination with both the engineering and medical aspects of the Exovent project. Currently working as a GP in Edinburgh, with clinical commitments split largely between the Covid Assessment Centre and the Lothian Unscheduled Care Service.

He has two children, and in addition to spending time with them, his passions include surfing, tennis, mountaineering and music.