Kodak to Help US Reduce Reliance on Overseas Drugmakers

Lands $765M federal loan to help manufacture generic drug ingredients
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 29, 2020 12:04 AM CDT
Kodak Is Getting Into Generic Drug Business
This Jan. 25, 2011 file photo shows a Kodak slide projector in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Eastman Kodak will receive a federal loan of $765 million to help reduce reliance on other countries for ingredients in generic drugs, an agreement President Trump hailed Tuesday as a breakthrough in bringing more pharmaceutical manufacturing to the United States. Kodak Pharmaceuticals will make critical pharmaceutical ingredients that have been identified as essential but have lapsed into chronic national shortage, as defined by the Food and Drug Administration, the AP reports. The government loan will help support startup costs needed to repurpose and expand Kodak’s existing facilities in Rochester, NY, and St. Paul, Minn. The Kodak unit will have the capacity to produce up to 25% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to make generic drugs in the United States, Trump said.

Shares of the one-time photography giant, based in Rochester, more than tripled on the announcement by the US International Development Finance Corp. Kodak has branched out to offset the large scale loss of its film business amid the popularity of digital photography. Adam Boehler, who heads the IDF, said he learned that the company was interested in creating a start-up that could supply ingredients for pharmaceuticals. “If you look at drugs, 90% of the drugs that we take today are generics, and they are almost all made overseas,” Boehler said in an interview on CNBC. “The dominant manufacturer of ingredients for generics is China, and No. 2 is India. And so, we said if we’re going to re-shore and bring things back and we’re going to have safety and security going forward, we need to change that.”

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