Becton Dickinson Forms $70M Covid-19 Partnership With U.S. For Syringes

Becton Dickinson (BDX) has formed a $70 million public-private partnership with the U.S. government for the manufacturing of injection devices used for COVID-19 vaccines.

As part of the partnership, the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will invest an estimated $42 million into a $70 million capital project to further expand BD’s operations and production capacity in Nebraska, where it has manufactured medical devices for nearly 70 years.

The new capacity, which is expected to be online within 12 months, will grant BARDA priority access to injection devices from the new manufacturing lines to meet mass vaccination needs for COVID-19 and future pandemics.

The medical technology company said it finalized an initial order for 50 million needles and syringes to be delivered by the end of December this year for the U.S. government’s COVID-19 vaccination needs. The company added that it continues to work closely with the U.S. government for additional quantities of injection devices under the Operation Warp Speed vaccine program, which seeks to begin supplying millions of doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 in 2021.

“BD’s commitment to produce 50 million vaccine injection devices by the end of this year to support the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination campaign is the latest effort in the company’s multifaceted global response to this virus,” said Rick Byrd, BD’s Medication Delivery Solutions president. “Over the past four years, BD has committed to invest more than $340 million in our Nebraska facilities.”

BD does not expect the order to have an impact on its ability to meet existing customer requirements for needles and syringes, including the annual flu vaccination and childhood immunization campaigns.

The world’s largest manufacturer of injection devices said that in addition to the U.S., it has also received orders from other countries, including Canada and the U.K.

The U.S. government order comes as BD earlier this week announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency-use authorization (EUA) for its portable COVID-19 antigen test that delivers results in 15 minutes.

BD will ramp-up manufacturing capacity to 2 million tests per week by the end of September and seeks to produce up to 10 million tests from July through September.

Five-star analyst Larry Biegelsen at Wells Fargo, who reiterated a Buy rating on the stock, said that assuming 2 million tests per week would be produced at an average price of $18, the COVID-19 antigen test could generate revenue of about $470 million per quarter, if BD would sell all of its capacity.

Shares rose 1.2% to $254.49 in early afternoon trading. The stock is still down 7.6% so far this year and analysts have a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy consensus on the stock with 6 Buy ratings versus 7 Hold ratings. The $273 average price target indicates 7.7% upside potential in the shares over the coming 12 months. (See BDX stock analysis on TipRanks).

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