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Schumer Helping Corning Inc. With Expansion Plans

January 11, 2022

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense to give full and fair consideration of the proposal submitted by Corning Incorporated to expand domestic industrial base capabilities for bioproduction and diagnostic consumables production. Schumer said that the proposed expansion of their Oneonta Life Sciences Facility would preserve the existing 150 jobs at the facility and create as many as 275 new construction and permanent manufacturing jobs, investing in an economically disadvantaged area of the Mohawk Valley Region, and importantly strengthen the U.S. domestic supply chain for the production of vaccine research and diagnostic consumables, and sterilization capacity.

“New variants, like Omicron, underscore the necessity to plan for and invest in our nation’s ability to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies. Innovative proposals like Corning Incorporated’s expansion of the Oneonta Life Sciences facility will help address the nation’s medical supply chain vulnerabilities that the pandemic has exposed, strengthening the U.S. response to public health emergencies and boosting American innovation and manufacturing,” said Senator Schumer. “Innovation plus federal investment is how we better equip America to deal with health threats. Corning’s proposed project would be a shot in the arm for the Upstate New York economy, creating hundreds of jobs and would be a booster for the domestic medical supply chain. I strongly urge the federal government to give full and fair consideration to the project to safeguard against any possible research and diagnostic shortages.”

Ron Verkleeren, Corning Incorporated’s senior vice president and general manager, Life Sciences, said, “Corning is grateful for the support of Senator Schumer, who has played a critical role in the fight against the pandemic for our communities, state, and nation. We’re proud that our employees and technologies have been vital in the nation’s response, and are honored for the opportunity to further partner with the U.S. government to expand domestic manufacturing and strengthen the supply chain for critical life sciences consumables.”

“I would like to thank Senator Schumer for continuing to fight to bring good paying jobs and expand manufacturing here in Otsego County. If enacted, Corning Inc’s proposal will strengthen both America’s ability to protect public health and be a tremendous economic boost for the our region. I look forward working with Corning Inc and fellow stakeholders to try to make this expansion a reality,” said David Bliss, Chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.

“Thank you Senator Schumer for your efforts to highlight this project for federal investment and fighting to bring these jobs to the Mohawk Valley. Increasing the domestic production capacity for products supporting COVID-19 vaccines and testing will help not only our country future pandemic response, but can mean hundreds of good paying jobs right here in Otsego County,” said Jody Zakrevsky, CEO of Otsego Now. “Corning’s proposal, to streamline all life science processes, will reduce the timeframe for delivery from manufacturer to consumer, which in the case of public health emergencies is critical. I look forward to working with all partners involved to try to make this project a reality.”

Schumer explained that the COVID–19 pandemic exposed the lack of a coordinated federal strategy for the supply of many essential medical items and revealed the dire vulnerability faced by the United States of having limited domestic supply chains of items like diagnostic consumables and other products related to vaccine development and distribution. Schumer said that investment in projects, like the one proposed by Corning, is a vital step that will help enhance our nation’s efforts to better prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.

Schumer has long been an advocate for ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place to protect Americans during public health emergencies. Last year, Schumer announced that Corning received over $204 million in federal funding, more than doubling employment at their Big Flats facility, from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to expand Corning’s manufacturing capacity of Valor® Glass vials for the rapid production and secure delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines and other critical drugs. Later that year, Corning was awarded an additional $57 million from BARDA to further increase the domestic manufacturing capacity of pharmaceutical glass tubing and vials to support the accelerated mass vaccination effort, making a total of $261 million invested for Corning’s pharmaceutical vial and tubing manufacturing capacity.

Schumer has championed programs like BARDA and its critical role in supporting the development of medical countermeasures needed to effectively respond to public health crises, since the Agency’s inception in 2006. Schumer secured over $26 billion for BARDA to respond to COVID-19 through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act (CARES Act), the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act of 2020 and the Consolidations Appropriations Act, 2021. Most recently, in the American Rescue Plan Schumer negotiated an additional $5.2 billion to support advanced research, development, manufacturing, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and ancillary medical products for COVID-19.