A private-public consortium to develop pre-filled syringe packaging has been backed by Jefferies, including a seed capital commitment of at least $10 million.
Jefferies Financial Group today announced it is the first private-sector company to support a newly established public-private consortium launched by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through its Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).
HHS joined with ApiJect Systems America (ApiJect), a public-benefit corporation, to create a high-volume, ‘surge’ drug packaging solution using Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS), a process used in sterile manufacturing facilities worldwide that features a small medical-grade plastic container that holds a pre-filled volume of medicines or vaccines.
This new consortium, called Rapid Aseptic Packaging of Injectable Drugs (RAPID), is intended to establish critically needed surge capacity “to fill and finish, on a rapid basis, hundreds of millions of pre-filled syringes to respond quickly and efficiently to widespread health emergencies, such as the novel coronavirus outbreak,” the HHS said in a statement.
Jefferies will support the initiative by providing access to the firm’s client network, management team, financial resources and an immediate initial seed capital commitment of at least $10 million to initiate the RAPID network as quickly as possible.
According to the company, RAPID will build a domestic surge capacity network of up to eight packaging facilities using BFS. FDA-approved BFS technology is currently used to package billions of doses annually for medicines used to treat respiratory conditions, rotavirus oral vaccines and more. RAPID will combine this well-established technology with an innovative interlocking needle hub to achieve population-scale volumes of pre-filled syringes.
Rich Handler, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jefferies and Brian Friedman, President of Jefferies, commented: “All of us at Jefferies are deeply concerned about and personally impacted by, the COVID-19 pandemic. We are ready to put the firm’s capital to work in smart solutions, such as RAPID, that are critically needed to help America and the world win the battle against this pandemic. We have always supported new and innovative approaches and we believe RAPID is the right public-private partnership as we face this crisis in both the short term and long term.”
ApiJect CEO, Jay Walker, commented: “Given the urgency to bring back critical elements in the pharma manufacturing supply chain to the US, we are especially pleased to be leading the RAPID consortium. Drug packaging and dispensing at population scale within our borders will be essential to safeguard the American public quickly and safely. Winning this battle against COVID-19 requires each and every company, citizen and all levels of government to step up.”