Fed awarded $354 million US drug manufacturing contract to Phlow Corp as part of the effort to end America’s dependence on Chinese drugs
The U.S. government has awarded a $354 million drug manufacturing contract to Virginia-based Phlow Corporation for advanced manufacturing of America’s most essential medicines at risk of shortage, including medicines for the COVID-19 pandemic response. The contract is part of the move to strengthen America’s supply chain and supports COVID-19 response and reduced our dependence on Chinese drugs.
The four-year contract, which has another $458 million included as potential options, is a government measure to reduce America’s dependence on foreign nations in order to strengthen its drug supply chain. Phlow Corp said it has started manufacturing pharmaceutical ingredients and has finalized dosage forms for more than a dozen essential drugs to treat hospitalized patients with covid-19-related illnesses.
This project has been funded with federal funds from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the office of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The total contract value awarded to Phlow is up to $812 million which includes a four-year base award of $354 million with an additional $458 million included as potential options for long-term sustainability.
With its strategic partners, Civica Rx, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medicines for All Institute, and AMPAC Fine Chemicals, Phlow has initiated manufacturing chemical precursor ingredients, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and finished dosage forms for over a dozen essential medicines to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19-related illnesses. Many of these medicines are in shortage and have previously been imported from foreign nations.
The partnership with HHS/ASPR/BARDA immediately enabled Phlow, with the help of its partners, to deliver over 1.6 million doses of five essential generic medicines used to treat COVID-19 patients to the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), including medicines used for sedation to help patients requiring ventilator support, medicines for pain management, and certain essential antibiotics.
Phlow is also building the United States’ first Strategic Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Reserve (SAPIR), a long-term, national stockpile to secure key ingredients used to manufacture the most essential medicines on U.S. soil, reducing America’s dependency on foreign nations to support its drug supply chain.
“BARDA has long focused on expanding pharmaceutical manufacturing infrastructure in the United States, not only to develop and produce vaccines, but also for essential medicines, and their key ingredients used to make these drugs,” said BARDA Acting Director, Dr. Gary Disbrow. “Collaborating with Phlow and its partners is an important step in expanding our manufacturing of strategic APIs and critical medicines at-risk of shortage.”
“Years from now, historians will see this innovative project as a defining moment and inflection point for protecting American families‑—and our country—from current and future public health threats,” said Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. “For far too long, we’ve relied on foreign manufacturing and supply chains for our most important medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients while placing America’s health, safety, and national security at grave risk. We are now moving swiftly in Trump time to forge an American solution, one that leads with American ingenuity, American workers, and American factories all dedicated to ending our drug shortages and expanding drug manufacturing infrastructure for a healthy and secure future.”
The threat of pandemics like COVID-19 has exposed the United States’ heavy reliance on foreign pharmaceutical supply chains. Over 80 percent of APIs and chemical ingredients used in the U.S. to manufacture generics and over-the-counter drugs are produced abroad, the majority coming from China and India.
“In the midst of this pandemic, America needs a reliable source of high quality, domestically manufactured, affordable pharmaceuticals and their key ingredients,” said Eric Edwards, MD, PhD, co-founder, president and CEO, Phlow. “This advanced manufacturing capability will significantly fortify our nation’s pharmaceutical supply chain for critical medicines, including many required to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19.”
Over the past twenty years, due to economic and regulatory factors among others, manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients and essential generic medicines in the U.S. sharply declined. This collaboration with United States Government provides security and sustainability to the nation’s drug supply chain, enabling the U.S. to create a solution to combat the nation’s chronic issue with generic drug shortages.
Led by Dr. Frank Gupton at the Medicines for All Institute, based at Virginia Commonwealth University College of Engineering, the team will use “flow” chemistry and other continuous advanced manufacturing processes to help manufacture its API. This technology has not been widely adopted in the generic pharmaceutical industry but when used, it can increase the quality, safety, and volume of medicines, yielding lower costs for Americans.
“We believe this work can revolutionize America’s generic drug manufacturing model by enabling Phlow to produce affordable ingredients used to manufacture essential medicines in the U.S.,” said Dr. Gupton, co-founder of Phlow, chair of Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering and CEO of the Medicines for All Institute.
“As a strategic partner, VCU and the Medicines for All Institute will be able to develop and commercialize innovative chemical process technologies for Phlow to enable domestic end-to-end drug manufacturing with the ultimate goal of providing affordable, high-quality, and U.S. manufactured medicines to patients.”
Civica Rx, the nation’s leading non-profit pharmaceutical company, was formed to combat drug shortages and price spikes in hospitals. This contract enables Civica to manufacture the finished dosage product on the same site as Phlow’s precursor and API production and work with Civica’s network of more than 1200 hospitals, consisting of over 30% of licensed hospital beds in the U.S., to make these medicines immediately available to doctors and patients who need them.
“This partnership fits perfectly with Civica’s mission to make essential generic medications accessible and affordable,” said Martin VanTrieste, president and CEO of Civica Rx. “We thank Phlow, VCU and AMPAC for their collaboration and commitment to serving patients, and we thank the federal government for partnering with us to bring urgently needed advanced manufacturing capabilities for the production of essential generic drugs to the United States.”
In order to begin rapidly producing medicines for patients in need, Phlow partnered with AMPAC Fine Chemicals, a leader in commercializing continuous processes, and a custom manufacturer of API and precursor chemical ingredients based in the U.S. Phlow is working with AFC to produce ingredients used in the manufacturing of essential medicines, and is working to build an advanced manufacturing capability in Virginia and Sterile Injectables Manufacturing Facilities.
Phlow Corporation (“Phlow”) is a public benefit pharmaceutical manufacturing company dedicated to providing high-quality, low-cost pharmaceuticals through state-of-the-art, U.S. based advanced manufacturing processes. The company will manufacture precursor chemical ingredients, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), and finished pharmaceutical products, domestically for essential medicines critical to the Nation’s healthcare. To help ensure the quality, safety, and affordability of pharmaceutical products of strategic importance to the United States, Phlow utilizes advanced manufacturing platforms, including continuous manufacturing, to provide essential medicines to its customers, health systems, and government partners.