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Cytiva tasked with COVID-19 vaccine work as part of $31M U.S. government grant

With the U.S. working at a rapid clip to scale capacity for a range of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, stateside companies are snagging big down payments on the taxpayers’ dime. Now, the government is cutting a check to a former General Electric business to help chip in.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has shelled out $31 million to Boston-area technology and solutions provider Cytiva to pitch in on COVID-19 vaccine-related components, including cell culture media and bioreactors. 

The government’s deal with Cytiva, formerly GE Life Sciences, will expand capacity at the firm’s Massachusetts plants and create duplicate infrastructure at its Utah facilities, BARDA said in a release.

So far, BARDA has dropped around $1.1 billion in an effort to build U.S.-based infrastructure for COVID-19 vaccine ancillary products, including vials, needles and syringes, as well as to expand capacity for targeted manufacturing partners.

BARDA has played a major role in boosting manufacturer capacity for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics in the early months of the pandemic, shelling out major grants to U.S. firms to get their operations scaled up as quickly as possible.

Back in June, it doled out a whopping $628 million to Maryland CDMO Emergent BioSolutions to help scale up manufacturing for a range of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including those from Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Novavax and Vaxart. The aim of the deal was to make “tens to hundreds of millions” of doses available through 2021, Emergent said.

In May, the agency floated a four-year, $354 million contract with a fledgling company, Phlow Corporation, to build a generic medicine and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) plant in Richmond, Virginia and supply COVID-19 treatments produced there.

The massive deal can be expanded up to 10 years and a total of $812 million, making it among the largest in BARDA’s history. 

Cytiva was formed in 2019 after VC firm Danaher bought the factory-in-a-box business for a cool $21.4 billion in February of that year. 

In addition to its biomanufacturing business, Cytiva came with offerings in process chromatography hardware and consumables, cell culture media, single-use technologies, development instrumentation and consumables and service.