May 19, 2020 7:00 AM

Facility in Kan. will create 300 jobs, help COVID-19 testing

Posted May 19, 2020 7:00 AM

JOHNSON COUNTY — Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, announced Monday it has received a contract from the U.S. government to provide highly specialized viral transport media (VTM) for COVID-19 sample collection.

According to a media release, the VTM is used during collection of patient samples for proper transport to laboratories that can test for the presence of the virus.

To ensure accuracy of COVID-19 test results, VTM must be manufactured and dispensed into tubes in an aseptic environment. Thermo Fisher currently produces VTM at its site in Lenexa, Kansas, which meets this requirement, and has ramped production from 50,000 to more than one million VTM-filled tubes per week.

Given the significant demand for COVID-19 testing and associated sample collection, Thermo Fisher will expand capacity in Lenexa with a new $40 million facility dedicated to VTM production and quality control. The added capacity and increased efficiencies will allow the company to scale production to more than eight million VTM-filled tubes per week.

The company plans to complete the new Lenexa facility in Q3 and expects that it will create approximately 300 new full-time jobs.

"Our production ramp-up in Lenexa has been impressive and our employees deserve recognition for their ingenuity and dedication to making this happen," said Marc N. Casper, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific. "We have a proven blueprint for high-quality VTM production in Lenexa and look forward to bringing significant new capacity on line as quickly as possible to continue the necessary testing ramp-up in the U.S."

Casper added, "We're proud of our role in helping customers to battle the pandemic. With our leading scale and depth of capabilities, Thermo Fisher can support virtually every aspect of the COVID-19 response, which demonstrates what it means to be the world leader in serving science."

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May 19, 2020 7:00 AM
Kan. congresswoman defends vote against $3T relief package
Congressswoman Sharice Davids during a virtual event hosted by the City of Overland Park this month

KANSAS CITY (AP) — Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas says she was among the few Democrats to vote against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill because it faces a such a small chance of making it through the Republican-controlled Senate.

Davids was among just 14 Democrats to vote against the bill on Friday. Her vote came as a surprise because Davids has repeatedly called for aid to states and cities facing revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill would provide $5.2 billion to Kansas over two years and another $5.1 billion over two years to city and county governments in the state.

Davids acknowledged in a statement Friday night that the bill included many provisions she promoted. But she criticized the bill for being too partisan and broad.