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Corning will use BARDA funding to expand US manufacturing capacity for pharmaceutical tubing and vials made from Valor glass.
Corning announced in a June 9, 2020 press release that it will receive funding to expand its domestic manufacturing capacity of Corning Valor Glass vials to support the vaccination and treatment of billions of patients. The company will receive $204 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health and Human Services, through its partnership with the Department of Defense’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense and Army Contracting Command.
Under the Operation Warp Speed program for developing and manufacturing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, the US government is seeking to address existing constraints and shortages, such as in primary packaging. Corning will provide priority access to designated BARDA vaccine and drug development partners.
Corning, Merck, and Pfizer had collaborated to modernize pharmaceutical glass packaging, and in July 2017 the group introduced Valor Glass, which Corning says has superior chemical durability and minimizes particulate contamination. The glass is designed for pharmaceutical packaging and allows for faster filling and capping, increasing manufacturing throughput by as much as 50% on conventional filling lines, and reduces the time needed to manufacture vaccines and therapies, according to the company. Corning says it is up to 10 times stronger than conventional borosilicate glass, which reduces damage and breakage during manufacturing and shipping.
“Valor Glass sets a new standard for quality and performance in pharmaceutical packaging. It is purpose-built for pharmaceuticals and is uniquely positioned to enable faster, more reliable drug manufacture and delivery-attributes that are critical to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic response,” said Brendan Mosher, vice-president and general manager, Corning Pharmaceutical Technologies, in the press release.
The investment from BARDA will enable Corning to accelerate the scale up of Valor Glass’ tubing and vial manufacturing assets at three US facilities in Big Flats, NY; Durham, NC; and Vineland, NJ. The capacity increase is needed to help meet the demand for glass containers as pharmaceutical companies enter COVID-19 clinical trials towards eventual approval of vaccines and treatments.