June 11, 2020
Operation Warp Speed ramps up U.S.-based manufacturing capacity for vials for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments
Under the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD) today announced a joint effort to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for vials that may be needed for vaccines and drugs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health emergencies.
“The COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrates the need to bring manufacturing back to America, a priority President Trump has emphasized since his first day in office,” said HHS Secretary Azar. “With an estimated 90 percent of medical vials made overseas, foreign dependence could delay efforts to protect Americans with essential treatments and vaccines. With the actions HHS and DOD are taking today, the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed is building our capacity to respond to public health emergencies, including COVID-19.”
To expand domestic manufacturing capacity for vials, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, collaborated with the DOD Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense and Army Contracting Command, to provide funding to two U.S. companies: Corning Incorporated, headquartered in Corning, New York, and SiO2 Materials Science located in Auburn, Alabama.
BARDA is partnering with and providing $204 million to Corning to expand the domestic manufacturing capacity to produce an additional 164 million Valor Glass vials each year if needed. Corning will accelerate the scale up of Valor Glass tubing and vial manufacturing at the company’s facilities in Durham, North Carolina; Big Flats, New York; and Vineland, New Jersey.
Valor Glass provides chemical durability to minimize particulate contamination. The specialized glass allows for rapid filling and capping methods that can increase manufacturing throughput by as much as 50 percent compared to conventional filling lines, which in turn can reduce the overall manufacturing time for vaccines and therapies. Valor glass vials also have been shown to be stronger than conventional glass vials, which can reduce damage and breakage during manufacturing and shipping.
BARDA also is partnering with and providing $143 million to SiO2 Materials Science of Auburn, Alabama, to ramp up capacity to produce the company’s glass-like coat plastic container. SiO2’s patented vial is a plastic container with a microscopic, thin, pure glass coating and can be used for drugs and vaccines. The coating provides thermal and chemical stability and integrity, a gas barrier, and durability to reduce breakage.
The company anticipates hiring 150 additional workers in Lee County, Alabama, to support the new manufacturing lines at the Alabama site. The new lines provide the capacity to produce an additional 120 million vials per year if needed.
Under these agreements with the federal government, the companies also will provide priority access to the vials for BARDA’s vaccine and drug development partners. The arrangements will provide surge capacity for vial manufacturing to help meet the demand for glass containers for vaccines and treatments during public health emergencies.
As part of Operation Warp Speed, HHS and DOD currently are working together and collaborating with private industry to develop and scale-up manufacturing of five potential vaccines and eight possible therapeutics for the COVID-19 pandemic response. To learn more about BARDA’s portfolio, visit medicalcountermeasures.gov.
About HHS, ASPR, and BARDA:
HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. The mission of ASPR is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. Within ASPR, BARDA invests in the innovation, advanced research and development, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products needed to combat health security threats. To date, 55 BARDA-supported products have achieved regulatory approval, licensure or clearance. To learn more about federal support for the nationwide COVID-19 response, visit coronavirus.gov.
About the JPEO-CBRND:
The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) is the DoD Joint Service’s lead for development, acquisition, fielding and life-cycle support of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense equipment and medical countermeasures. As an effective acquisition program, the JPEO-CBRND puts capable and supportable systems in the hands of the service members and first responders, when and where it is needed, at an affordable price. Our vision is a resilient Joint Force, enabled to fight and win unencumbered by a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear environment, championed by innovative and state-of-the-art solutions.