Eastman Kodak has signed a letter of intent for a $765 million US government loan with which it plans to begin production of critical active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that the US now imports.
The loan will be from the US International Development Finance Corporation, a development bank. The bank calls the loan the first use of a new authority from President Trump allowing it to support US response to COVID-19 under the Defense Production Act, including the reshoring of resources produced overseas.
Kodak plans to use the loan to add API equipment to its facilities in Rochester, New York, with an emphasis on continuous manufacturing and other advanced technology. The company says it will work with US and drug company officials to prioritize APIs that are in greatest need.
In May, a different government agency, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, granted the new company Phlow $354 million to similarly begin producing APIs in Virginia.
Kodak already has a chemical custom manufacturing business that uses assets in Rochester once devoted to film chemistry. The firm says the new investment will give it the capacity to produce up to 25% of the APIs used in non-biologic, non-antibacterial generic drugs.
“Kodak has a good shot at this,” says James Bruno, head of the consulting firm Chemical and Pharmaceutical Solutions. “They have a lot of the basic physical assets to do it.”
Bruno does note that the firm will have to invest in equipment and training to meet the US Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory standards.