(Reuters) – Glass maker Corning Inc <GLW.N> said on Tuesday it would receive $204 million from the U.S. government to boost the manufacturing capacity of its vials that will be used to store coronavirus vaccines and treatments.
Companies developing coronavirus vaccines, such as AstraZeneca <AZN.L> and Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N>, have flagged potential supply shortages of glass vials, which could pose a challenge to scaling up the production of a vaccine.
Billions of vials will be needed for vaccines of the new coronavirus, with world leaders looking towards treatments as a way to re-open stalled economies.
Corning’s funding comes a day after the U.S. government awarded $143 million to privately-held SiO2 Materials Science to boost the production of its vials and syringes. (https://bwnews.pr/37eauUA)
Corning said it will provide priority access of its vials to companies that have tied up with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for developing treatments and vaccines.
The funding from BARDA will go towards scaling up production of the company’s ‘Valor Glass’, which is designed to minimize contamination and could potentially speed up manufacturing processes.
The company signed a long-term agreement in May with Pfizer Inc <PFE.N>, which is also developing a coronavirus vaccine, for the glass vials. Pfizer said they would be used for some existing sterile injectable drugs and a range of new products.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)