Thermo Fisher Opens New Manufacturing Site for COVID-19 Sample Collection

August 31, 2020
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

The new facility, located in Lenexa, KS, will rapidly expand production of viral transport media.

Thermo Fisher Scientific announced on Aug. 28, 2020 that it has officially opened a new $40-million manufacturing facility in Lenexa, KS, dedicated to the production of viral transport media (VTM). The company will also continue to expand the site to meet expected sustained demand for COVID-19 testing, Thermo Fisher stated in a company press release.

Thermo Fisher received a contract from the US government in early May 2020 to provide a significant quantity of highly specialized VTM for COVID-19 sample collection. The VTM is dispensed into plastic tubes for safe collection and transport of clinical specimens containing viruses, which ensures that the sample collected from a COVID-19 nose swab maintains viability while being shipped to a lab for testing. Thermo Fisher has ramped up production in Lenexa from 50,000 units per week to now more than 8 million units per week with the start-up of production in early July 2020.

An aseptic environment is necessary to ensure that COVID-19 test results are accurate. The new facility is dedicated to accelerating production and ensuring quality control by following a blueprint for high-quality VTM production that was developed in Lenexa. The products manufactured at the facility will also be used to collect and sample flu and other viruses, in addition to supporting the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The facility has created more than 300 new full-time jobs and added 120,000 ft2 of manufacturing capacity, Thermo Fisher reported in the press release.

"Thermo Fisher is proud to support virtually every aspect of the global COVID-19 response, and our colleagues in Lenexa have played a key role in those efforts," said Gianluca Pettiti, senior vice-president and president of Thermo Fisher’s Specialty Diagnostics business, in the press release. "Thanks to their hard work, Lenexa significantly increased production of VTM units. The team has worked with unrelenting intensity to build out and open a new site in just about six weeks. They understood the urgent national need, accepted the challenge and have delivered for the American people."

Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific