Apple has awarded $10 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to COPAN Diagnostics, a company focused on producing sample collection kits for testing COVID-19 to hospitals in the U.S. The money comes from the fund that Apple established to support the development and growth of U.S.-based manufacturing, but is particularly notable because to date, the fund has been used to support companies tied more directly to its own supply chain.
The $10 million award also includes Apple employing its sourcing resources to find equipment and materials for COPAN Diagnostics, including new advanced equipment the iPhone-maker is helping design itself. Funds will also be used by COPAN to expand to a larger production facility in Southern California that can output more supply, growing its run rate from around several thousand currently, to over one million kits weekly by July, according to Apple. Apple notes that it will also result in the creation of around 50 new U.S. jobs.
COPAN is a pioneer in the diagnostics world, having previously invented flocked swabs in 2003, and it currently offers the world’s leading transport medium for virus-containing clinical specimens. The investment here from Apple is focused primarily on scale, taking the existing expertise of COPAN and making it into something that can operate somewhere closer to the amazing production volumes that Apple can accomplish, in order to help address the urgent need for more testing supplies to prevent that being the bottleneck to widespread COVID-19 diagnostics in the U.S.
Apple has redirected many of its resources, including monetary donations, protective equipment sourcing, and software development resources for both symptom-checking apps and the forthcoming partnership with Google on exposure notification software, to combatting the global coronavirus crisis. This deployment of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund is yet another example of how the company can address the pandemic in a variety of ways that are unique to its global position, expertise and relationships.