May 12 (UPI) -- The Department of Defense announced Tuesday that it has awarded a $138 million contract to ApiJect Systems America to create a ready supply chain for prefilled syringes when a COVID-19 vaccine is available.
According to the Pentagon, the contract was spearheaded by the DoD's Joint Acquisition Task Force in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Under the contract, ApiJect's subsidiary RAPID USA Inc. will operate under the initiative Project Jumpstart to create a U.S.-based high-speed supply chain for prefilled syringes using blow-fill-seal plastics manufacturing technology, enabling the manufacture of medical-grade injection devices by October 2020.
"By immediately upgrading a sufficient number of existing domestic BFS facilities with installations of filling-line and technical improvements, 'Jumpstart' will enable the manufacture of more than 100 million prefilled syringes for distribution across the United States by year-end 2020," said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews.
According to Andrews, the Jumpstart initiative will enable the manufacture of more than 100 million prefilled syringes for distribution across the United States by the end of the year.
ApiJect announced Tuesday that it also plans to ramp up production of syringes in 2021, producing 330 million prefilled BFS syringes per month by the end of the year.
"RAPID USA is led by our multi-disciplinary team of experienced engineers, pharmaceutical technology experts, and management leadership. Our team is expending extraordinary efforts to ensure that when drugs are developed and tested all Americans can receive critical injections," said ApiJect Systems America CEO Jay Walker. "We will have done our part by providing the manufacturing capacity to support the necessary volume of ready-to-use prefilled syringes that contain essential medicines, be they therapeutics or vaccines."
Initial manufacturing sites will be in Connecticut, South Carolina and Illinois, with potential expansion to other U.S. locations.
"RAPID will provide increased lifesaving capability against future national health emergencies that require population-scale vaccine administration on an urgent basis," Andrews said.