U.S. govt to invest $42 million in Becton Dickinson to ramp up vaccination efforts

(Reuters) - Becton Dickinson and Co BDX.N said on Wednesday the U.S. government will invest $42 million to expand the medical technology company's manufacturing capacity for syringes and needles to support vaccination efforts against COVID-19.

The company has also finalized an initial order from the government for 50 million needles and syringes to be delivered by the end of December 2020.

As the pandemic continues to rage, drugmakers’ push to mass produce their potential COVID-19 vaccines even before they are shown to work in trials is creating concerns over supplies, including potential shortage of vials.

Brokerage Evercore ISI said the Becton deal indicates the demand for syringes could be higher than expected, and the expansion of manufacturing capacity could add over $150 mln of revenue to the company.

The investment is under a public-private partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office, Becton Dickinson said.

BARDA has invested more than $3 billion in vaccines and funded more than 30 projects as part of “Operation Warp Speed,” the White House program aimed at accelerating access to vaccines and treatments for the new coronavirus.

BARDA will get priority access to the injection devices from the new manufacturing lines, the company said.

Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli