LENEXA, KS–Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. recently cut the ribbon on its new $40 million facility in Lenexa, Kansas dedicated to viral transport media (VTM) production. The company says that the site will continue to expand to meet expected sustained demand for COVID-19 testing. It has created more than 300 new full-time jobs and added 120,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity.
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.
"The team has worked with unrelenting intensity to build out and open a new site in just about six weeks," says Gianluca Pettiti, senior vice president and president of the company's Specialty Diagnostics business. "They understood the urgent national need, accepted the challenge and have delivered for the American people."
To ensure accuracy of COVID-19 test results, VTM must be manufactured and dispensed into tubes in an aseptic environment. 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.