The Eastman Kodak Co. (traditionally associated with cameras, film, printers and other imaging technology) announced the launch of its new Kodak Pharmaceuticals arm, which will produce various pharmaceutical ingredients. The $765m funding is the first action occurring under the president’s executive order, which directs the International Development Finance Corp. (DFC) and Department of Defense (DoD) to collaborate on COVID-19 response.
DFC CEO Adam Boehler, prior to signing a letter of interest regarding the loan, said responses to widespread challenges like the pandemic calls for collaboration between government and private enterprise.
“Addressing the unprecedented challenges we face today—and preparing for future crises—requires innovative ideas and partnerships,” he said. “We are pleased to support Kodak in this bold new venture; our collaboration with this iconic American company will promote health and safety at home and around the world.”
Kodak executive chairman Jim Continenza said the country stands to benefit from increased domestic production of key pharmaceutical ingredients.
“By leveraging our vast infrastructure, deep expertise in chemicals manufacturing, and heritage of innovation and quality, Kodak will play a critical role in the return of a reliable American pharmaceutical supply chain,” he said.
The White House’s director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Peter Navarro added that the country is overly dependent on foreign supply chains for pharmaceutical products and ingredients.
Also, the White House Supply Chain Task Force lead John Polowczyk said of the loan, “This is about assuring our supply chains now and in the future.” said John Polowczyk, White House Supply Chain Task Force lead. “Kodak is stepping up to help onshore pharmaceutical production and this DPA action will allow the modernized Strategic National Stockpile to have domestic resiliency. Once Kodak ramps up we will have the ability to tap into that capacity for domestic use."
Eastman Kodak ranks among the most long-lived US companies, founded when George Eastman debuted his first camera on retail shelves in 1888. The firm has since bolstered its offerings with more advanced cameras, digital printers, advanced graphic workflow systems and more.
According to the company, the new Kodak Pharmaceuticals arm will focus on production of pharmaceutical components identified as essential but deemed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has having “lapsed into chronic national shortage.” Currently only abou 10% of bulk components used to make generic drugs are made in the US.
Kodak reports the DFC loan will be harnessed to accelerate the pharma arm’s time to market by covering startup costs, and needed expansions at facilities in Rochester, NY; and St. Paul, MN. Once up and running, Kodak Pharmaceuticals reportedly will possess the capacity to produce up to 25% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used in non-biologic, non-antibacterial generics in the country, including potential COVID-19 treatments.