Biological pharmaceuticals and vaccines packaging technology provider SiO2 Materials Science has secured a contract from the US Government to ramp up container production.

The company has signed a $143m agreement with the Department of Defence’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defence (JPEO-CBRND) in partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

This investment is for the company’s advanced, patented, primary packaging platform for storing novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines and therapeutics.

SiO2 advisor and MIT institute professor Dr Robert Langer said: “The nation can produce all the vaccines we want, but we must have appropriate containers to store them and deliver them to patients safely.

“Many drug development and drug formulation innovations can be limited due to variables associated with traditional glass vials and syringes. The SiO2 vials and syringes eliminate these variables and allow drug development partners to bring their innovations to life.”

According to SiO2, its patented materials coating includes a plastic container featuring an undetectable pure glass coating.

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The company’s vials and syringes have thermal stability ranging from -196˚C to 121˚C, seal integrity down to -80˚C, chemical stability with pH range from 3-14 and gas permeation properties like glass.

They are precision moulded, can withstand 1,500 pounds of direct force and are dimensionally consistent by up to 15 times more than glass.

Experts from University of California, Santa Barbara and Berkeley, University of Chicago, MIT, and Harvard, as well as Dr Glenn Fredrickson supported the development of the company’s patented materials science.

Fredrickson said: “The SiO2 vials solve significant challenges in the commercialisation of vaccines and biological drugs, which presently cannot be solved by glass or plastic vials.

“Bringing this advanced coating to market will enable pharmaceutical manufacturers to safely and more rapidly deploy their critical products.”