Fremont Joins the Frontlines in National Fight Against COVID-19
The City of Fremont has been busy in the wake of the Coronavirus. Residents are adhering to an extended Shelter-in-Place order and are acclimating to work-from-home environments; healthcare workers are overseeing the containment of the disease; essential City departments, such as Police, Fire, and Transportation, are actively providing essential services to the community; local government officials are creating new resources and policies to protect Fremont community members from the impacts of this unprecedented pandemic; and Fremont-based biotech businesses are shifting their current operations to focus on fighting COVID-19.
Fremont’s resident biotech companies are excellently positioned to support these efforts due to the talent they employ, the supply chain they have access to, and the abundance of competitively priced industrial-zoned land. On the talent front, Fremont’s Ohlone College offers world-class training to foster a globally competitive biotech workforce and the Fremont-based East Bay Bio-Medical Manufacturing Network program boosts the region’s strength in the biotech industry by developing connections between companies and students. Coupled with a supply chain ecosystem that fosters interaction, collaboration and connections with local suppliers and the over 9 million square feet of commercial space the City has to utilize for large-scale manufacturing facilities, our local biotech companies are primed to make an impact.
This work has received attention from reporters at ABC7 News, Reuters (Covering both Evolve and PrinterPrezz), San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX 5 CBS SF BAY AREA, and FOX 2 KTVU, shining a spotlight on the joint efforts of the City of Fremont and its life sciences business ecosystem to overcome the challenges presented by this unprecedented disease.
Most recently, Fremont Mayor Lily Mei visited one of these companies – Evolve Manufacturing Technologies –to meet with CEO Noreen King and tour the facility to see firsthand how the company has shifted its operations in response to the virus.
Evolve plans to manufacture 10,000 ventilators each week in its facility, equating to one ventilator every minute and a half.
“It’s been incredible to witness the enormous impact that Fremont’s biotech companies have made already in the national response to COVID-19,” said Mayor Mei. “As a City, we are each doing what we can to address health and safety concerns surrounding the virus, including doing our part to make sure that healthcare workers on the very forefront of the fight against COVID-19 have the tools they need to succeed.”
To do our part, the Fremont Economic Development Department has been in lock-step with a number of these local companies that are producing essential COVID-19 medical equipment, such as test kits, masks, and ventilators in the wake of critical U.S. shortages. Our team has fast-tracked the City’s zoning permit approval process to make sure companies can start manufacturing these essential medical supplies as soon as possible.
Now, any of the 115+ Fremont-based biotech companies can be permitted to produce medical supplies in less than a week compared to the nearly 4 months it would take previously before the process was streamlined.
We’re proud of all the work that Fremont companies are doing to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Here are a handful of the companies that are on the frontlines and how they are helping:
- BioGenex – A pathology solutions company that is now working with Roche labs to provide raw materials required to make COVID-19 tests kits.
- Biolytic Lab Performance – This oligo synthesizers manufacturer is currently focused on diagnostic and therapeutic applications for the COVID-19 virus, among others, where large quantities of unique DNA and RNA are critical to detection.
- Evolve Manufacturing Technologies – A contract manufacturer that offers end-to-end manufacturing services is now building test kits and ventilators, as well as equipment that is used in developing COVID-19 treatments. Evolve foresees adding more than 100 employees in a month or two.
- PrinterPrezz – Known for its 3D printing capabilities, PrinterPrezz is now working with key partners to utilize its rapid prototyping capabilities to produce medical supplies and instruments for hospitals
- Steri-Tek – This E-Beam & X-ray sterilization company is now sterilizing parts of COVID-19 test kits, as well as sterilizing medical devices that are being used in operations nationwide. Steri-Tek is also addressing the shortage of face masks and face shields by testing to see if they can be sterilized and re-used.
- Thermo Fisher Scientific – Thermo Fisher was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to distribute its diagnostic test for use at CLIA high-complexity laboratories to detect nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
And it’s not only biotech companies that have been jumping in to the fight against COVID-19. Fremont-based autonomous technology company Pony.ai has joined forces with the City of Fremont to deliver meals to residents in a local emergency shelter program at the Islander living complex. This partnership was also highlighted by Bloomberg and VentureBeat.