Auburn company secures $143M government contract to package future COVID-19 vaccine

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The vial inspection at SiO2. Photo via SiO2

Once viral researchers develop a vaccine for COVID-19, Auburn-based Si02 Materials Science will produce the package. Learn more about how they secured a $143M government contract to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine packages.

$143M for COVID-19 vaccine packaging

Coating process for product at SiO2 Materials Science. Photo via SiO2

On Monday, June 8, SiO2 announced that they had landed a massive $143M government contract. Funded by the US Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services, SiO2 will be manufacturing packages to store a vaccine for COVID-19, once developed.

SiO2 CEO and former mayor of Auburn Bill Ham credited U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) for his help in acquiring the contract. The company plans to virtually double their size to meet the stipulations of the contract, adding 200 new advanced technology jobs in the coming months.

Who is SiO2 and what do they do?

Automated coating inspection station for product. Photo via SiO2

SiO2 is a materials science company—a field that develops, processes, and tests different materials that can be used to create a range of products. In SiO2’s case, their technology can apply a unique glass-like barrier onto any plastic surface. For instance, a container for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Since SiO2 has previously worked on projects in packaging for biological drugs and blood collection tubes, it makes sense that they would win a government contract to package a valuable COVID-19 vaccine in the future.

How Does It Work?

An ionized air cleaning station at SiO2. Photo via SiO2

Traditional glass vials and syringes, by the nature of glass, are delicate. Since glass can break easily, these vials and syringes have to be handled with extreme caution.

SiO2’s patented technology combines the durability of plastic with the physical and barrier properties of glass. Developed over the past decade with researchers from around the country, SiO2 vials can withstand up to 1,500lbs of direct force! According to SiO2, the vials are shatterproof, which minimizes the risk of loss during shipping and handling.

Learn More About Sio2

Class 7 manufacturing cleanroom at SiO2. Photo via SiO2
  • Contact: Website
  • Location: 2250 Riley St, Auburn, AL 36832

Once researchers have developed a vaccine to COVID-19, safe shipping and handling of the vaccine is extremely important. That’s why Alabama’s own SiO2 is on the case.

Excited to learn more about Alabama’s role in the fight against COVID-19? Follow us on social media @bhamnow to get the latest!

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Nathan Watson
Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.
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