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Schumer Says The COVID-19 Pandemic Exposed The Immediate Need For Robust Domestic Manufacturing Of Essential Products Related To Vaccine Development, Testing, And Treatment 

New Corning Incorporated Proposal Would Expand Manufacturing Capacity At Oneonta Facility To Meet Growing Demand For Pharmaceutical Research And Diagnostic Products 

Schumer: Federal Investment Would Be A Win-Win – A Shot-In-The-Arm For Oneonta Economy & A Booster For The Nation’s Ability To Respond To Current And Future Public Health Emergencies  

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense to give full and fair consideration of the proposal submitted by Corning Incorporated to expand domestic industrial base capabilities for bioproduction and diagnostic consumables production. Schumer said that the proposed expansion of their Oneonta Life Sciences Facility would preserve the existing 150 jobs at the facility and create as many as 275 new construction and permanent manufacturing jobs, investing in an economically disadvantaged area of the Mohawk Valley Region, and importantly strengthen the U.S. domestic supply chain for the production of vaccine research and diagnostic consumables, and sterilization capacity.

“New variants, like Omicron, underscore the necessity to plan for and invest in our nation’s ability to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies. Innovative proposals like Corning Incorporated’s expansion of the Oneonta Life Sciences facility will help address the nation’s medical supply chain vulnerabilities that the pandemic has exposed, strengthening the U.S. response to public health emergencies and boosting American innovation and manufacturing,” said Senator Schumer. “Innovation plus federal investment is how we better equip America to deal with health threats. Corning’s proposed project would be a shot in the arm for the Upstate New York economy, creating hundreds of jobs and would be a booster for the domestic medical supply chain. I strongly urge the federal government to give full and fair consideration to the project to safeguard against any possible research and diagnostic shortages.”

Ron Verkleeren, Corning Incorporated’s senior vice president and general manager, Life Sciences, said, “Corning is grateful for the support of Senator Schumer, who has played a critical role in the fight against the pandemic for our communities, state, and nation. We’re proud that our employees and technologies have been vital in the nation’s response, and are honored for the opportunity to further partner with the U.S. government to expand domestic manufacturing and strengthen the supply chain for critical life sciences consumables.”

“I would like to thank Senator Schumer for continuing to fight to bring good paying jobs and expand manufacturing here in Otsego County.   If enacted, Corning Inc’s proposal will strengthen both America’s ability to protect public health and be a tremendous economic boost for the our region.  I look forward working with Corning Inc and fellow stakeholders to try to make this expansion a reality,” said David Bliss, Chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.

“Thank you Senator Schumer for your efforts to highlight this project for federal investment and fighting to bring these jobs to the Mohawk Valley.  Increasing the domestic production capacity for products supporting COVID-19 vaccines and testing will help not only our country future pandemic response, but can mean hundreds of good paying jobs right here in Otsego County,” said Jody Zakrevsky, CEO of Otsego Now. “Corning’s proposal, to streamline all life science processes, will reduce the timeframe for delivery from manufacturer to consumer, which in the case of public health emergencies is critical. I look forward to working with all partners involved to try to make this project a reality.”

Schumer explained that the COVID–19 pandemic exposed the lack of a coordinated federal strategy for the supply of many essential medical items and revealed the dire vulnerability faced by the United States of having limited domestic supply chains of items like diagnostic consumables and other products related to vaccine development and distribution. Schumer said that investment in projects, like the one proposed by Corning, is a vital step that will help enhance our nation’s efforts to better prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.

Schumer has long been an advocate for ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place to protect Americans during public health emergencies. Last year, Schumer announced that Corning received over $204 million in federal funding, more than doubling employment at their Big Flats facility, from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to expand Corning’s manufacturing capacity of Valor® Glass vials for the rapid production and secure delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines and other critical drugs. Later that year, Corning was awarded an additional $57 million from BARDA to further increase the domestic manufacturing capacity of pharmaceutical glass tubing and vials to support the accelerated mass vaccination effort, making a total of $261 million invested for Corning’s pharmaceutical vial and tubing manufacturing capacity.

Schumer has championed programs like BARDA and its critical role in supporting the development of medical countermeasures needed to effectively respond to public health crises, since the Agency’s inception in 2006. Schumer secured over $26 billion for BARDA to respond to COVID-19 through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act (CARES Act), the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act of 2020 and the Consolidations Appropriations Act, 2021. Most recently, in the American Rescue Plan Schumer negotiated an additional $5.2 billion to support advanced research, development, manufacturing, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and ancillary medical products for COVID-19.

A copy of Schumer’s recent letter on behalf of Corning Incorporated appears below:

Dear Assistant Secretary O’Connell:

I write today to ask that you give full and fair consideration to of Corning Incorporated’s application to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD) to expand domestic industrial base capabilities for bioprocess and diagnostic consumables. HHS and DOD should strongly consider the inclusion of vaccine and diagnostic consumables, sterilization capacity, and pharmaceutical packaging, all products that Corning proposes to manufacture with investment support from the federal government, as priority products and processes within the U.S. health care supply chain. The inclusion of these essential items is crucial to strengthening the nation’s long-term sustainable domestic pharmaceutical and diagnostic supply chains, reducing America’s dependence on foreign manufacturers of critical pharmaceutical and diagnostic products and safeguarding against any possible future pharmaceutical and diagnostic shortages both during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in future emergencies.

As evidenced by the appearance of yet another new variant, Omicron, time of is of the essence. The COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear the imperative of ensuring consistent and reliable access to critical pharmaceutical and diagnostic products is indispensable for the security of the nation’s public health. In order to fully achieve a secure, reliable domestic supply of critical medical goods, ongoing research and manufacturing efforts must continue to support the availability of bioprocess and diagnostic consumables, pharmaceutical packaging materials and other products that are essential to the manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics, and pandemic response readiness. 

Innovative New York companies like Corning Incorporated have embraced this mission, including with their proposed expansion of the Oneonta Life Sciences Facility. Specifically, this project would expand upon the Oneonta Life Sciences Facility’s existing vaccine and pharmaceutical research and testing manufacturing to include a state of the art production plant which would boost production of bioprocess and diagnostic consumables. This proposal includes an 180,000 square foot facility expansion, funding to introduce sterilization capacities to the existing manufacturing process, as well as bioprocess and diagnostic consumable production lines. This investment will not only strengthen the domestic pharmaceutical industrial base and reduce supply chain risk, but also enable the rapid delivery of medical countermeasures (MCMs) to strengthen the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, and any future public health emergencies.

I applaud HHS and DOD for your ongoing work to coordinate public health emergency preparedness, including building a resilient and robust domestic supply chain of critical pharmaceutical and diagnostic products to ensure patients and health care providers are best equipped to deal with emerging threats. In pursuit of this mission, I strongly advocate for continued support for, and prioritization of, vaccine diagnostic consumables, sterilization capacity, and pharmaceutical packaging. It is a vital step that will help enhance our nation’s efforts to better prepare for future public health emergencies and will help encourage further investment in domestic R&D and manufacturing by companies like Corning Incorporated. 

I commend Corning Incorporated on the merits of this project, and I sincerely hope the application meets with your approval. Thank you for your consideration on this important health concern.