WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies – yesterday questioned Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), during an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on a recent request for information HHS released that could create new manufacturing opportunities for Thermo Fisher Scientific based out of Lenexa.
“We were alerted, just recently, about an HHS request for information that was posted last week, soliciting interests from laboratories that could scale up with additional equipment from Thermo Fisher Scientific,” said Sen. Moran. “Thermo Fisher is located in Kansas, and recently expanded to create more test tubes for COVID-19 tests.”
Click HERE to watch Sen. Moran’s full questioning or find the transcript below.
Transcript of full exchange:
Sen. Moran: We were alerted, just recently, about an HHS request for information that was posted—I think it was posted last week. It was soliciting interests from laboratories that could scale up with additional equipment from Thermo Fisher Scientific. Thermo Fisher is located in Kansas, and we have—just recently they had an expansion to create more test tubes to do the test results. Could you tell me what the ultimate plans are, assuming that you receive interests from these laboratories? And more specifically, what's the budget for this strategy? How many labs do you intend to support and how much more testing will get accomplished?
Admiral Giroir: So, let me just say first, it was an NIH solicitation, and we received information from about 27 universities that had interest. Let me just say a top-line piece, particularly now, is that they're certain types of assays, like Hologic, like Roche, like Cephied, that are relatively flat, but there's huge supply of other outstanding assays of which Thermo Fisher has. They have a huge industrial capability; they have instruments; they have everything that goes with it: soup to nuts, full “Happy Meal,” however you want to say it. So, we're trying to encourage laboratories around the country, including universities, to use these because Thermo Fisher could make tens of millions of high-quality laboratory-based assays. We've supplied some of these to private laboratories like Sonic and Aegis, and we’re also trying to make sure that the universities use what they have, but also if they need help we’re happy to fund this. This is a relatively small amount of money to get them the capability to do assays, and Thermo Fisher has been really good to work with about really knocking down the prices, particularly for surveillance. So, it's really another way to try to get the message out. We talk of thousands of universities, but Thermo is just one of those assets that we have a lot of. It's an excellent test; it's a great company; we want people to use it.
Sen. Moran: And, too early to tell whether there's a response? Whether your outreach is having any effect?
Admiral Giroir: Seriously, probably three times a week we match a major laboratory up with Thermo Fisher, getting their instruments together with their supplies. So, it is absolutely having an effect. Again, we have a lot of capability; we just want to make sure that people understand where the capabilities are, and Thermo's one of them.