Kodak expands into pharmaceuticals to help fight Covid-19

Kodak is moving into the pharmaceutical industry, supported by a $765m loan from the US government.

The former photography giant said on Tuesday that Kodak Pharmaceuticals, a new arm of the company, will make ingredients for drug manufacturing as part of the nationwide effort to combat coronavirus.

According to the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), which announced the funding, Kodak Pharmaceuticals will produce critical pharmaceutical components that have been identified as essential but are currently in short supply in the United States.

Although Americans consume approximately 40% of the world’s supply of bulk components used to produce generic pharmaceutics, only 10% of those materials are made in the country.

DFC’s loan is expected to accelerate Kodak’s time to market by supporting startup costs needed to repurpose and expand the company’s existing facilities in Rochester, New York and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Kodak estimates that, once fully operational, it will have the capacity to produce up to 25% of active pharmaceutical ingredients used in non-biologic, non-antibacterial, generic pharmaceuticals.

“By leveraging our vast infrastructure, deep expertise in chemicals manufacturing, and heritage of innovation and quality, Kodak will play a critical role in the return of a reliable American pharmaceutical supply chain,” said Kodak’s executive chairman, Jim Continenza.

Kodak is not the only photography company to branch out into drug making, with Japan’s Fujifilm currently working on a potential Covid-19 vaccine, BBC News reported.