Halyard Health Awarded Federal Contract to Research and Develop High-speed Machine to Produce Respirators for Use During Pandemics
ALPHARETTA, Ga., Dec. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Halyard Health Inc. (NYSE: HYH), formerly Kimberly-Clark Health Care, today announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Under the contract, BARDA will fund research by Halyard to develop a one-of-a-kind, high-speed machine to manufacture N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs) that can be used during a pandemic.
Respiratory protection is a key factor in preventing the spread of disease during a pandemic. An adequate supply is needed to ensure that a healthy workforce is maintained. Stockpiling large quantities of product may not be a financially feasible option, because the stockpiled product often expires before it can be used.
"Halyard is pleased to have been selected by HHS to try to help solve this real problem," said Lee Burnes, vice president, research and development at Halyard. "All government agencies agree that a shortage of respirators will occur during a pandemic. So, we have a real opportunity to demonstrate our expertise and help make a difference in an area of critical need by performing research on the ability to develop an on-demand, high-speed machine that will make use of stockpiled raw materials to produce respirators."
The proposed effort will improve and expand medical countermeasure manufacturing capabilities for the U.S. that will result in a cost-effective approach for mitigating the projected shortages of the most commonly used FFRs – that protect healthcare workers from both droplet and aerosol transmission of infections during a pandemic.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has estimated that a 42-day outbreak would require 90 million FFRs – an untenable investment given the uncertainty of when the respirators will be used.
"If successful, the on-demand approach provides an option to preparedness that has finite and manageable costs," added Burnes. "The on-demand approach is also scalable and provides the surge capacity required to meet the expected demands during a pandemic."
The contract between Halyard and BARDA is valued at $5.01M and runs for nearly two years. Halyard will begin work on the project in January.
This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, under Contract No. HHSO100201600004C.