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Auburn company Sio2 Materials Science adding 200 jobs after getting $143M government contract to package COVID-19 vaccines

An advanced materials company in Auburn is expanding after winning a large government contract, the firm announced Monday.

Si02 Materials Science has been awarded a $143 million dollar contract via a joint agreement from the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The company plans to virtually double in size to meet the demands of the contract; it will add 200 more advanced technology manufacturing jobs.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) was given credit for procuring the contract by Si02’s CEO and former Auburn Mayor Bill Ham.

The company, which currently employs slightly more than 200 individuals, is based in Auburn and hires most of its employees from the talent pool of graduates in its backyard.

“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.

The contract Si02 was awarded Monday is to manufacture packages in which the government hopes to store a vaccine for COVID-19 once one is developed.

Si02’s containers can withstand extreme amounts of force while not altering the delicate chemical compounds that make up many advanced medical treatments.

“The SiO2 vials solve significant challenges in the commercialization of vaccines and biological drugs, which presently cannot be solved by glass or plastic vials,” Said Dr. Glenn Fredrickson, a scientist at UC Santa Barbara who consulted with Si02 during product development.

Shelby, head of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has long backed advanced scientific ventures in the Yellowhammer State, and was given high praise by officials connected to the expansion announced Monday.

“We are extremely grateful for Senator 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,” said Bobby Abrams, Chief Executive Officer of SiO2.

“We are extremely fortunate to have SiO2 in Auburn, and are grateful for the integral role Alabama’s prominent U.S. Senator Richard Shelby played in helping the company,” said former Auburn Mayor Bill Ham, who is currently on the Board of Auburn University’s Auburn Research and Technology Foundation (ARTF).

Shelby’s senate office tweeted news of the announcement, saying the senator was “Proud this Alabama company is working to combat COVID-19.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95