Auburn’s SiO2 plans $ 163 million expansion to boost vaccine vial production
In June, SiO2 announced a $ 143 million contract with federal government agencies to scale up production of the company’s state-of-the-art packaging platform for the storage of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines and therapeutics.
Over the past 10 years, SiO2 has developed its patented vial platform, which combines a plastic container with a microscopic pure glass coating inside, ideal for biological drugs and vaccines.
The product, developed in Auburn with the help of experts from four major US research institutions, combines the advantages of glass and plastic without the drawbacks.
“There are problems with plastic, and there are problems with glass, and we solve them all,” said Bobby Abrams, CEO of SiO2.
As part of its growth plan, SiO2 will expand its existing facility at 2250 Riley Street and invest in a new molding facility at 2425 Innovation Drive, both located in Auburn Technology Park West.
Construction is underway to expand the facility on Innovation Drive. The completed facility of approximately 70,000 square feet will increase the production capacity of the SiO2 injection molding operation.
“We are proud to have some of the world’s leading scientists and product developers working in our community,” said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. “With the presence of these companies and the outstanding medical and engineering programs at Auburn University, we believe we will see significant growth in the biotech industry here in Auburn.
“On top of that, the well-paying jobs created through this project will translate into significant economic opportunities for our local businesses. “
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the SiO2 expansion project in Auburn will help ensure that health officials across the country have an adequate supply of vials and syringes to administer a vaccine against the COVID-19 as soon as it is developed.
“Having a constant supply of innovative vials of SiO2 will be a key strategic advantage for federal agencies wishing to act quickly once a vaccine becomes available to counter the coronavirus,” he said.
A key component of the SiO2 product is increased safety for healthcare providers and for patients, who have a lower risk of unwanted side effects. A combination of plastic and a microscopic layer of glass also means that the vials and syringes will not shatter, shatter or crack. SiO2 ships its products worldwide.
“Many innovations in drug development and formulation may be limited due to variables associated with traditional glass vials and syringes,” said Dr. Robert S. Langer, professor at the David H. Koch Institute at MIT and business advisor.
“SiO2 vials and syringes eliminate these variables and allow drug development partners to bring their innovations to life. “
SiO2 is a private company based in Auburn, where it has approximately 200 employees. The Alabama Retirement Systems provided early financial support to the business.