Lenexa facility to hire 300 full-time employees as it ramps up COVID-19 test production

Posted at 9:44 AM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 23:35:44-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Massachusetts-based company is increasing production of material for COVID-19 tests at its Lenexa facility and expects to hire 300 full-time employees to fulfill a federal contract.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has been producing viral transport media (VTM) used for storing and transporting patient samples to laboratories to be tested for viruses, like COVID-19. The company announced Monday it was awarded a federal contract to increase production.

"You need the ability to do the collection in order to be able to ramp up testing," said Bret Johnson, the company's vice president of global operations for specialty diagnostics business.

Currently, the Lenexa facility produces about 1 million viral transport tubes per week. The company expects to produce 8 million tubes weekly by building a $40 million facility and adding 300 full-time jobs in Lenexa.

"We have already ramped our site in Lenexa to 24/7 operations and this really represents an opportunity to create more capacity in the Lenexa area, further leverage our expertise and bring on upwards of 300 additional full-time employees" Johnson said.

The new facility is expected to be fully operational by the company's third quarter.

In a statement to 41 Action News, Lenexa City Manager Beccy Yochman said the city looks forward to working with Thermo Fisher to "accomplish the planned expansion"

It is exciting to see an existing Lenexa company stepping forward to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," Yochman said.

Details of the federal contract are unknown at this time.