Keene medical device facility’s parent company wins big vaccine-related contract

$20 million Smiths Medical award will mean major expansion at New Hampshire site

A medical device manufacturing company has won a federal contract to produce more than 78 million syringe-and-needle units that will mean a major expansion of the firm’s facility in Keene.

Smiths Medical, which is based in Plymouth, Minn., said it has entered into an agreement with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense.

The deal involves a $20 million investment by the federal government to expand production of Smiths’ integrated hypodermic needle and syringe products at the Keene facility. The investment represents almost half the cost of Smiths’ planned $38 million capital expansion project in Keene.

Smiths said the deal will increase its needle production capacity by 125 million units per year. The federal government will have priority access to the expanded capacity for vaccination efforts dedicated to Covid-19, flu vaccines and future pandemics.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who in April sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging the federal government to expand the nation’s domestic medical device supply chain, praised the award and the role that the employees at Smiths will play in the nation’s efforts to develop and deliver a Covid-19 vaccine.

“The United States must be prepared to quickly deliver a vaccine when one is ready – we must not be caught flat-footed,” she said. “The administration’s errors and delays in delivering PPE, testing and contact tracing must be avoided at all costs when it comes to delivery of an eventual vaccine. The broad availability of a vaccine is absolutely critical to saving lives and reviving the economy.”

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