GRAND RAPIDS — A $120 million investment by the federal government will fund a large share of the cost for Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing Inc.’s latest expansion.
The multiyear contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Defense will support the company’s expanded production capacity that the federal government can tap in the event of another public health crisis similar to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the contract, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing will invest $160 million overall to expand filling and finishing capacity.
The contract comes after the company secured a one-year, $160 million contract in the summer of 2020 under the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed to produce a COVID-19 vaccine.
As well, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing landed a contract during the pandemic to finish and fill Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
Grand River Aseptic produced more than 100 million doses of J&J’s vaccine and has since been awarded additional work from the pharmaceutical company, said President and CEO Tom Ross.
The success of the Operation Warp Speed contract led to the new deal with the two federal agencies, Ross said. The contract show that “when you do good work for people, they remember it and they reward you for it,” he said.
“We did a fantastic job responding to that and we’re extremely proud of the work we did as a company,” Ross told MiBiz. “When the government was contemplating how we can be better prepared in the future, they were able to get the right funding to invest in capacity and be prepared for a future pandemic. So it made a few select investments in companies that it thought could be able to respond in the future.”
Once the planned expansion is complete, Grand River Aseptic will have six fill and finish production lines at facilities in Grand Rapids that will have a combined 300,000 square feet of space.
In addition to supporting the federal response to any future public health emergency, Grand River Aseptic can use the new production lines to attract new clients, Ross said.
“With all of the investments we’ve already made and with this additional investment, it sets us up to substantially increase our capacity and be able to grow significantly for many years to come,” he said.
Grand River Aseptic has been growing quickly in recent years and employs more than 400 people. Revenues are now “substantially above” $100 million, Ross said.
After recording an annual growth rate of 279 percent over the last three years, Grand River Aseptic was recently named the 2022 winner of the Outstanding Growth Award presented by the Association for Corporate Growth Western Michigan chapter.