August 28, 2020 – Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (Boston, MA) announced that it has officially cut the ribbon on its new $40 million facility in Lenexa, Kansas, dedicated to viral transport media (VTM) production.
The company also announced that the site will continue to expand to meet expected sustained demand for COVID-19 testing. Thermo Fisher says the facility has created more than 300 new full-time jobs and added 120,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity.
To ensure accuracy of COVID-19 test results, VTM must be manufactured and dispensed into tubes in an aseptic environment since it is dispensed into the plastic tubes that are used to safely collect and transport clinical specimens containing viruses. This process ensures that the sample collected from a COVID-19 nose swab maintains viability while it is shipped to a lab for testing.
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.
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.
The company says 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.
“Widespread testing is a necessary component to keep the American economy running safely,” said U.S. Senator Jerry Moran. “Thermo Fisher has stepped up to produce additional test tubes to help meet the national demand for COVID-19 testing and has created 300 new jobs by expanding its manufacturing base in Lenexa. Kansans never fail to do their part in our country’s time of need, and this is no different. Thermo Fisher’s ability to manufacture test tubes and significantly increase production is important for making certain Americans can feel secure in their health and safely return to work.”