Auburn biomedical company to hire 200 people to produce future vaccine vials

Published 3:39 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2020

An Auburn biomedical company is adding more than 200 jobs after winning a large government contract to manufacture packages in which the government hopes to store a vaccine for COVID-19 once one is developed.

Si02 Materials Science was awarded a $143 million dollar contract earlier in June from the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services.

On Wednesday, the company announced a $163 million expansion. The company plans to virtually double in size to meet the demands of the contract; it will add 200 more advanced technology manufacturing jobs.

SiO2’s patented materials science is a combination of a plastic container with a microscopic, thin, undetectable to the naked eye, 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.”

Essential characteristics of SiO2’s patented materials coating include thermal stability and integrity, chemical stability, a gas barrier, mechanical durability, no breakage, and precision molding.

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, and included the participation of Dr. Glenn Fredrickson, one of the most prominent material scientists in the United States.