Inx Medical, a health innovation startup that develops surgical devices, has hired about 20 new employees since March to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The startup began making face masks for frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We (pivoted) in March, when the pandemic really started,” said Jim Vermeersch, President and CEO of Inx Medical. “We knew we had the opportunity to help out. The state asked various companies around town if they could help out to do so. That’s what we did.”
Prior to the pandemic, the company had five employees. Many of its 20 new employees were furloughed or laid off by other employers due to the pandemic.
The startup is producing about 100,000 face shields a month. The pivot involved expanding the company’s office at the STLVentureWorks facility to allow for more production and storage space. Face mask buyers include the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well dentists, hair salons and retail firms.
Founded in 2011, Inx has developed a hemorrhoid ligation treatment system. Its pivot comes as the company is completing research and development on an anastomotic leak test kit for colorectal surgery. Inx hopes to submit that device to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within the next year.
For the time being, it plans to continue manufacturing face shields.
“Once the Covid situation settles down, that will determine whether we continue to make them or not,” said Vermeersch. “We’ll let the market dictate how long we are going to do it. We’ll probably do it for a while.”