U.S. Army taps Florida CDMO Ology with $106M work order for COVID-19 shots, therapeutics

With a suite of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics on their way to market, the U.S. government has been working to secure enough manufacturing capacity to meet demand. Now, the Army will pay big money to a Florida CDMO to snare millions of potential doses.

Ology Bioservices has scored a $106 million contract with the U.S. Army to perform fill-finish duties for targeted COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, the company said Wednesday.

The Army contract will pay out $53.1 million upfront to reserve capacity for roughly 187 million vaccine or drug doses, according to a release. The work order was signed under the umbrella of the Trump administration's Warp Speed initiative, Ology said, at a value of roughly $0.57 per dose.

According to its website, Ology is no stranger to major government contracts. The Florida firm has booked $1.8 billion in federal money to develop drugs and biologics at its Alachua facility, which holds 183,000 square feet of manufacturing space. 

Ology is the latest U.S. firm to benefit from the government's focus on securing onshore manufacturing for its COVID-19 response effort and beyond—some of which has raised eyebrows.

RELATED: Kodak's $765M manufacturing loan on the rocks as red flags multiply

Earlier this month, the government put on hold a $765 million loan to photography specialist Kodak to launch a new pharmaceutical unit after allegations of wrongdoing derailed the deal.

The halt followed an investigation from a group of influential House Democrats who argued that Kodak didn't appear to have the needed experience to qualify for the massive funding deal.

The loan as envisioned would have covered the cost to repurpose two Kodak facilities in Rochester, New York, and St. Paul, Minnesota. The revamped plants would have brought 360 new jobs online and indirectly employed another 1,200, the government said.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation said Kodak would be capable of producing "up to 25% of active pharmaceutical ingredients used in non-biologic, non-antibacterial, generic pharmaceuticals" when running at full speed.

RELATED: Trump picks little-known U.S. firm to spearhead $354M pandemic drug pact

But Kodak wasn't the only surprising firm the administration chose to fund.

In May, the government floated a four-year, $354 million contract with a fledgling company, Phlow Corporation, to build a generic medicine and API plant in Richmond, Virginia, and supply COVID-19 treatments produced there.