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Apple grants $10 million to COVID-19 test collection kit manufacturer

COPAN Manufacturing test kit for COVID-19

Early Thursday morning, Apple announced it is awarding $10 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund plus manufacturing machinery design assistance to COVID-19 test kit collection equipment manufacturer COPAN Diagnostics.

COPAN Diagnostics is a market leader in sample collection kits that play a critical role in COVID-19 testing. Apple says that the funding will allow the company to "rapidly accelerate their supply of sample collection kits for hospitals across the United States, expanding production from several thousand today to more than one million kits per week by early July."

The funding will support COPAN Diagnostics' expansion to a larger facility in Southern California, filled with advanced equipment that Apple will help design. More than 50 jobs are expected to be created by the funding and occupation of the new factory.

"We feel a deep sense of responsibility to do everything we can to help medical workers, patients, and communities support the global response to COVID-19," said Apple's chief operating officer Jeff Williams. "COPAN is one of the world's most innovative manufacturers of sample collection kits for COVID-19 testing, and we're thrilled to partner with them so they can expand as we work to address this critical issue for our nation. I couldn't be prouder of our teams for bringing all of their energy, passion, and innovative spirit to supporting the country's COVID-19 response."

Manufacturing equipment used by COPAN Diagnostics to assemble COVID-19 diagnostic collection kits
Manufacturing equipment used by COPAN Diagnostics to assemble COVID-19 diagnostic collection kits

The company manufactures the swabs and glassware needed to collect and process samples from the sinus passages of patients that are expected to have the disease. Additionally, the company's products are the primary transport medium for not just collection, but transport and long-term preservation of samples.

"We're excited to forge this new relationship with Apple, whose teams are already making a huge difference with our efforts to scale up the production of our sample collection and transport kits," said CEO of COPAN Diagnostics Norman Sharples. "Collection and transport kits are a critical component in the fight against COVID-19. At COPAN, we're excited and grateful for this partnership with Apple as our strong beliefs of innovation, quality, and excellence in manufacturing and design are perfectly aligned. Apple's operational expertise will help us increase delivery of important pre-analytical tools for medical professionals across the country at this critical time."

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the Advanced Manufacturing Fund on May 3, 2017. The fund is above and beyond Apple's $1 billion investment in SoftBank's Vision Fund, a $100 billion resource created to accelerate the development of technology around the world. About $50 billion of the Vision Fund will be directed toward U.S. endeavors.

Apple glass manufacturer Corning was the initial award recipient from the fund. That first $200 million award was granted in May 2017.