The agreement accelerates the production of SiO2's patented plastic vials for storing novel coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics
R+D Custom Automation, a US provider of fully customised automation systems, has announced an agreement with SiO2 Materials Science.
SiO2, an advanced materials science corporation, was recently awarded a $143 million contract with the federal government as part of the Operation Warp Speed initiative.
The R+D team is dedicated to safety as they work to develop the automation machinery required to produce the vials that are essential to the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.
The agreement accelerates the production of SiO2's patented plastic vials for storing novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines and therapeutics. The vials incorporate a "glass-like" barrier that limits oxygen transmission and protects against low pH levels.
"We are honoured to develop and manufacture the automation machinery required to produce the vials that are essential to the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials and production," said Loren Esch, CEO, R+D Custom Automation. "R+D is ramping up production capacity to accommodate the demands of Operation Warp Speed."
According to Lawrence Ganti, President of Customer Operations at SiO2, the SiO2 vials are the only alternative to glass. "The technology provides a direct patient benefit by reducing risk of side effects and ensures the full dose of drug or vaccine is given. The vials don't break or shatter under any condition and secure the vaccine or drug with an oxygen barrier," explained Ganti.
"R+D is proud to partner with a company whose advanced materials science platform are critical to our nation's fight against this pandemic," said Esch.
The government contract has mandated increasing annual capacity by scaling up to produce 40 million vials in June, 80 million in September, and 120 million in November. "R+D Custom Automation has been able to respond quickly, outsourcing as needed to meet machine deadlines in an accelerated timeframe," said Esch. "Thanks to our dedicated employees who are working long hours and weekends, what may have taken most companies eighteen months to execute, we've accomplished in a fraction of the time."
R+D started as a tool and die shop in 1977. Since then, the company has continuously expanded its automation capabilities to deliver proven, innovative and fully customised systems to its customers in the medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
"The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis that presents an epic challenge for us all," said Esch. "We're grateful for the opportunity to ensure that a COVID-19 vaccine can be safely produced and distributed as rapidly as possible."