Person wearing full PPE holding blood vial used for National Grid 'Backing the quest for a COVID-19 vaccine' story

Backing the quest for a COVID-19 vaccine

Across the world, companies are joining the battle against COVID-19, whether it’s by researching treatments or making PPE. Read how we’re supporting one NY biotech business to switch production to help with the quest for a vaccine.

Across all levels of government, there’s been a call to action for manufacturers to shift production towards the personal protective equipment (PPE), medical and pharmaceutical products needed for COVID-19 patients, health workers and institutions on the frontline of the pandemic.

Fast track funding

Businesses are keen to help, but changing focus so they can quickly make what’s required often comes at a cost. And that’s where we come in. To help speed up responses to the pandemic, we’re now fast-tracking funding requests made by businesses to our Manufacturing Productivity Program, part of our Shovel Ready initiative.

The programme, in collaboration with NY-MEP, offers up to $40,000 toward the cost of switching existing facilities to produce medical equipment and supplies needed to support the COVID-19 effort.

Fighting coronavirus

One of the businesses that’s receiving funds under the scheme is Applied DNA Sciences, a NASDAQ-listed biopharmaceutical company in Stony Brook, New York State.

Before the pandemic, the custom-manufactured DNA that the company specialises in producing was used in anti-counterfeiting and supply-chain security. Now the team has switched to applying its expertise to the production of linear DNA for the therapeutics and diagnostics markets, in the fight against COVID-19.

We’re grateful for this grant to help us accelerate the expansion of our vaccine development and diagnostics business toward COVID-19.

When they decided to make this change, we were ready to help offset their costs. President and CEO of Applied DNA Sciences Dr James Hayward said: “We’re grateful for this grant to help us accelerate the expansion of our vaccine development and diagnostics business toward COVID-19, to more quickly serve the community.”

Flattening the curve

Applied DNA is already making rapid progress, with a pre-clinical trial underway alongside their vaccine development partner. Meanwhile, the company’s COVID-19 diagnostics assay has received FDA Emergency Use Authorization. It’s been made available immediately for health systems’ mass testing in the effort to ‘flatten the curve’.

Beyond the pandemic

In supporting companies’ efforts to help fight COVID-19, we’re also hoping to boost businesses longer term, as John Bruckner, our National Grid New York President, explains: “Our goal is to partner with manufacturers state-wide, to retool their businesses to fight the pandemic. Our fast-track funding is one of the many ways we’re helping win the war against COVID-19, by increasing productivity and implementing programs that will sustain businesses during the recovery.”