Auburn’s SiO2 Wins Forbes Award for Vaccine Vials

Vials go through the automated transfer station at SiO2 in Auburn.

Auburn’s SiO2 Material Science, which is producing vials to house COVID-19 vaccines, has won Best Product in Forbes’ magazines manufacturing awards for 2020.

“Glass vials are ordinarily pretty boring stuff, but given the challenges of COVID vaccine distribution, they’re a hot commodity,” Forbes wrote in its mention of SiO2. “New technology from this Auburn, Alabama-based firm could prove a better option.”

The magazine cited SiO2’s $143 million contract with federal government agencies for its technology. In addition, SiO2 has signed two contracts with the Canadian government for syringes and vials.

A privately-owned company, SiO2 used proprietary, advanced material science to develop its patented technology that applies a unique glass-like barrier onto any plastic surface. The company’s products are most used for biological drugs packaging and blood collection tubes for genomic testing and liquid biopsies. The combination of plastic and a microscopic layer of glass means vials and syringes won’t break, shatter or crack, thereby protecting the health care workers that are helping patients.

“There are problems with plastic and there are problems with glass, and we resolve all of them,” SiO2 CEO Bobby Abrams said this summer.

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After winning that $143 million contract, SiO2 announced in July it planned to invest $163 million to expand its Auburn facility, adding 220 jobs to the company.

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