Inside Corning’s new vaccine bottle factory in North Carolina

Corning is known for the Gorilla glass on iPhones and the cookware we use during Thanksgiving. Something it is less known for is its contribution to the pharmaceutical world, but it is rapidly growing that part of its business.

Corning has just opened a new pharmaceutical vial manufacturing plant in Durham, North Carolina, where it said it can produce 500 million vials a year to improve the domestic supply chain and supply Covid-19 vaccines and other drugs to the United States and abroad. The plant was developed and implemented in record time, thanks in part to $ 204 million in funding from the federal government as part of Operation Warp Speed, the program that funded the development of the Covid vaccines.

Corning said its vial has enabled the delivery of more than 3 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines over the past 18 months.

Corning’s Pharmaceutical Vial Factory in Durham, North Carolina


Corning also unveils a new product called Velocity Vials, which are specially designed vials that it says speeds up the manufacturing process.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Catalent has begun filling Velocity Vials with Covid vaccines.

“We have found that their vials, because of the coating, actually have a faster throughput rate for us on the equipment we use,” said Denis Johnson, vice president and general manager of Catalent’s largest website in Bloomington, Indiana. “We are seeing a double-digit improvement in our throughput rates on our machines, which is equivalent to more doses for patients. And in a pandemic, that is crucial.”

Corning CEO Wendell Weeks said the company plans to expand the North Carolina plant until it becomes “one of the largest pharmaceutical packaging plants in the world,” and that he expects to grow the pharmaceutical vial portion of the company.

“Today, it’s small, I mean, compared to our $ 14 billion in revenue that we want this year, it’s small,” Weeks said. “But it’s not about the next two years, three years, it’s really beyond that, and we think these are billions of dollars of opportunities for us. We’re pretty sure of that.”

The pharmaceutical glass packaging market is expected to grow to a market of $ 7.46 billion in 2028 from $ 4.02 billion in 2021, according to Grand View Research.

Watch the video to see how vials are made and to get an exclusive first look inside Corning’s new factory in Durham, North Carolina.


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