Kodak to manufacture drug ingredients with $ 765 million federal loan

The phrase “Kodak moment” may soon have a new meaning.

132-year-old camera company Kodak is launching a new pharmaceutical business with help from Uncle Sam, officials said on Tuesday.

The Trump administration granted the titan of photography $ 765 million under the Defense Production Act to manufacture ingredients for a wide range of drugs in an effort to reduce the United States’ reliance on manufacturers of foreign drugs. This is the first loan of this type granted under the DPA program.

“By leveraging our extensive infrastructure, our deep expertise in chemical manufacturing, and our heritage of innovation and quality, Kodak will play a critical role in the return of a reliable US pharmaceutical supply chain,” Kodak executive chairman Jim Continenza said in a statement. declaration.

The news pushed Kodak’s stock price up 350% to $ 11.80 on Tuesday morning. The shares were recently trading at $ 8.76, more than triple Monday’s close of $ 2.62.

One of the drugs that Kodak will manufacture ingredients for is hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug President Trump has promoted as a treatment for COVID-19, according to the Wall Street Journal, who first reported on the deal. The Food and Drug Administration has noted the drug does not help coronavirus patients recover faster or reduce their risk of death.

Kodak’s loan from the US International Development Finance Corporation will directly support 360 jobs, indirectly support 1,200 more, and help the company expand its existing facilities in Rochester, New York and St. Paul, Minnesota, officials said.

This is the first use of an executive order signed by Trump in May allowing the company to support the production of “strategic resources” needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic under the Defense Production Act. Trump also used Korean War-era law to bolster supplies of ventilators and respiratory masks.

Federal officials noted that Americans consume about 40 percent of the world’s supply of generic bulk drug ingredients, but only 10 percent of those materials are made in the United States.

“If we’ve learned anything from the global pandemic, it’s that Americans are dangerously dependent on foreign supply chains for their essential drugs,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said in a statement.

About Walter Bartholomew

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