The city of Auburn and SiO2 Materials Science will host a job fair next Thursday after the company announced on Monday that it had agreed to a $143 million contract with the U.S. government.
The agreement will allow the company to accelerate the production scale-up of its primary packaging platform for storing novel coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics, according to a news release from the company, which explained that its "patented materials science is a combination of a plastic container with a microscopic, thin, undetectable-to-the-naked-eye, pure-glass coating for biological drugs and vaccines."
"The nation can produce all the vaccines we want, but we must have appropriate containers to store them and deliver them to patients safely," said Dr. Robert S. Langer, institute professor at MIT and advisor to SiO2. "Many drug development and drug formulation innovations can be limited due to variables associated with traditional glass vials and syringes. The SiO2 vials and syringes eliminate these variables and allow drug development partners to bring their innovations to life."
Most of the company's 200 employees live in Lee County and are Auburn University graduates, said the company.
"We are excited to see the growth that SiO2 is experiencing and are grateful to have such a high-caliber industry leader right here in Auburn," said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders in a news release. "Thanks to all involved for their efforts to help in the fight against Covid-19 here in our community and across our nation."
The company, located in Auburn Technology Park West, plans to add up to 200 high-skilled manufacturing jobs.
"We’re dramatically ramping up capacity to meet customer demands and to ensure that the surge seen due to the Covid-19 vaccine and therapeutic developments can be accommodated,” said SiO2’s President of Customer Operations and Chief Business Officer Lawrence Ganti.
SiO2's developed its materials science in Auburn over the past 10 years with help from experts at major U.S. research institutions, including MIT and Harvard.
"The pandemic presents an enormous challenge for all people," said SiO2 CEO Bobby Abrams. "We are extremely grateful for Senator (Richard) Shelby’s steadfast support and assistance, and we’re honored to collaborate with our government so a Covid-19 vaccine can be safely and quickly distributed. The state of Alabama and the city of Auburn for many years have been very supportive of SiO2 Materials Science during its research, development, commercialization, and now scale-up phases of the company."
The company is looking to hire production, maintenance, molding technicians, quality inspectors and lab technicians, quality engineers, a supply chain manager, mechanical engineers, an HR generalist, a payroll and benefits specialist and a front desk receptionist.
The job fair will be held next Thursday, June 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Auburn Center for Developing Industries, located at 1500 Pumphrey Ave.