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South Carolina pharmaceutical firm to help rollout COVID-19 vaccine

Ritedose will partner with ApiJet as part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed to fill up to 45 million doses per month of vaccines

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Columbia-based The Ritedose Corporation (TRC) has been named a partner in the federal government's Operation Warp Speed project to fill and finish COVID-19 vaccines.

TRC will be a subcontractor partnered with Stamford, Connecticut-based ApiJect Systems Corp

While ApiJect will use a new one-million-square-foot Gigafactory in North Carolina's Research Triangle to more quickly package high volumes of injectable medicines and vaccines -- beginning with COVID-19 -- supported by a joint DoD/HHS $138 million contract, ApiJect has repurposed and upgraded, as part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed, a BFS manufacturing facility at TRC to have the capacity to aseptically fill and finish up to 45 million doses per month of vaccines and other injectable medicines.

Jody Chastain, CEO of TRC, commented: “ApiJect is a company that makes things happen. I know that from my experience working with them on their emergency program to manufacture single-dose prefilled injectors at our South Carolina facility. The teams from ApiJect and Ritedose did the near impossible by creating in just a few months the capacity to fill and finish up to 45 million prefilled syringes every month. ApiJect’s new facility builds off that experience. It is the right step to address our nation’s glass vial supply chain vulnerabilities and expand domestic high-volume, fill-finish capacity for vaccines and other medicines.”

Operation Warp Speed hopes to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021.

"We will be prepared to make up 45 million doses per month which is a large number, but when you think that the average vaccine could consist of two doses and there is 350 million people in the United States, that's 700 million doses that you could need just to help out with the U.S., the potential of expansion is huge," Chastain said. "It puts South Carolina front and center on the fight for the nation against COVID, to give us some sense of normal."

According to a company statement, "founded in 1995 in Columbia, South Carolina, Ritedose is an industry leader in aseptic manufacturing and liquid packaging, and utilizes proven Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) equipment and processes to ensure efficient, consistent and safe dosage delivery. Our 25-year track record includes the delivery of more than 6 billion doses of drugs since 2012 without a single recall."