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Auburn’s SiO2 receives $143 million contract to accelerate packaging production for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics

This post originally appeared in the City of Auburn News.

SiO2 Materials Science, located in Auburn Technology Park West, announced yesterday a $143 million agreement with the federal government that will accelerate the company’s production of packaging for storing COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. The company’s patented materials are a combination of plastic containers with a microscopic, thin, pure glass coating for biological drugs and vaccines.

“The nation can produce all the vaccines we want, but we must have appropriate containers to store them and deliver them to patients safely,” explained Dr. Robert S. Langer, institute professor at MIT and advisor to SiO2. “Many drug development and drug formulation innovations can be limited due to variables associated with traditional glass vials and syringes. The SiO2 vials and syringes eliminate these variables and allow drug development partners to bring their innovations to life.”

SiO2’s patented materials science was developed in Auburn over 10 years with the assistance of experts from four major U.S. research institutions, University of California, Santa Barbara and Berkeley, University of Chicago, MIT and Harvard.

The company currently employs more than 200 engineers, scientists and technicians, most of whom live in Lee County and are Auburn University graduates. This expansion will bring even more jobs to the area, and SiO2 is partnering with the City of Auburn’s Economic Development Department to hold a job fair on June 10 and 18.

“We are excited to see the growth that SiO2 is experiencing and are grateful to have such a high-caliber industry leader right here in Auburn,” said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. “Thanks to all involved for their efforts to help in the fight against COVID-19 here in our community and across our nation.”

“The pandemic presents an enormous challenge for all people,” said Bobby Abrams, chief executive officer of SiO2. “We are extremely grateful for U.S. Senator Richard Shelby’s steadfast support and assistance, and we’re honored to collaborate with our government so a COVID-19 vaccine can be safely and quickly distributed. The State of Alabama and the City of Auburn for many years have been very supportive of SiO2 Materials Science during its research, development, commercialization and now scale-up phases of the company.”

Find more information in the company’s full press release.