Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, opened its new $40 million facility in Lenexa, Kansas. The project is dedicated to viral transport media production.
Built in just six weeks, this $40 million facility has created more than 300 new full-time jobs and added 120,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity in Lenexa. The company estimates that more than 150 million testing products will be produced by the end of the year.
"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. They understood the urgent national need, accepted the challenge and have delivered for the American people."
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. Thermo Fisher 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.
“I want to thank the Thermo Fisher team for its work in protecting our health and safety and helping Kansas tackle the many challenges brought on by COVID-19,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “By significantly increasing the manufacturing capacity of this facility, Thermo Fisher will not only have a positive impact on public health, but will help my administration as we work to rebuild our state’s fiscal foundation and make our economy stronger than it has ever been, not just returning to pre-pandemic conditions.”
Thermo Fisher has been producing COVID-19 testing products since the onset of the pandemic.
Secretary of Commerce David Toland said, “The need for research and development of pharmaceuticals to test for and combat COVID-19 is essential to our economic recovery, and Thermo Fisher is stepping up to help take on this huge task. Thermo Fisher is doing extremely important work for COVID-19 research, and I’m proud that such important, critically needed products will be produced in Kansas.”
To ensure accuracy of COVID-19 test results, VTM must be manufactured and dispensed into tubes in an aseptic environment, company officials explained. The new facility will accelerate production and ensure 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.