Canadian Plastics

Thermo Fisher Scientific opens new site for manufacturing COVID-19 sample collection products

The new facility in Lenexa, Kansas was built in six weeks to rapidly expand production of viral transport media.

September 8, 2020   Canadian Plastics

Scientific instrumentation equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has opened a new US$40 million facility in Lenexa, Kan., for viral transport media (VTM) production to meet sustained demand for COVID-19 testing.

In an Aug. 28 statement, the Waltham, Mass.-based company has also announced that the site will continue to expand to meet expected sustained demand for COVID-19 testing. The facility has created more than 300 new full-time jobs and added 120,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity.

In early May, Thermo Fisher received a contract from the U.S. government to provide a significant quantity of highly specialized VTM for COVID-19 sample collection. VTM is dispensed into plastic tubes that are used to safely collect and transport clinical specimens containing viruses. This ensures that the sample collected from a COVID-19 nose swab maintains viability while it is shipped to a lab for testing. In its statement, Thermo Fisher said that it has “responded quickly to meet increased demand for VTM by ramping up production in Lenexa from 50,000 units per week to now more than 8 million per week since the new facility began production in early July.”

“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 the company’s specialty diagnostics business. “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.”

To ensure accuracy of COVID-19 test results, VTM must be manufactured and dispensed into tubes in an aseptic environment. The new facility is dedicated to accelerating production and ensuring quality control by utilizing the proven blueprint for high-quality VTM production that has been developed in Lenexa. In addition to supporting America’s pandemic response, the products will be used for collection and sampling for flu and other viruses, Thermo Fisher said.


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