After receiving $10 million from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, COPAN Diagnostics has now shipped more than 15 million COVID-19 sample collection kits for communities across the country. Teams at Apple, COPAN, and more than a dozen other US companies created innovative processes and developed new machinery for COPAN’s Southern California facilities, increasing test-kit production by close to 4,000 percent since April.
“We are proud our Advanced Manufacturing Fund is supporting companies like COPAN who are playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 and assisting healthcare professionals and communities across the country,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “This collaboration helped produce, ship, and deliver millions of sample collection kits to hospitals from coast to coast — and we believe it is this unique combination of American manufacturing and innovation that will help us emerge from this crisis and build a safer world for us all.”
Since May, COPAN has shipped those sample collection kits to medical facilities across the country, including hospitals in California, Wisconsin, and Texas.
Dr. Aleta Bonner is a paediatric emergency medicine physician in Temple, Texas, and has been studying the effects of respiratory viruses for more than two decades. When the pandemic caused a dramatic rise in cases in her community, she took time away from paediatric medicine to focus on collecting COVID-19 specimens and conducting a research study that would determine the most effective ways to test for the virus. Her hospital received the COPAN COVID-19 testing kits.
“The preferred specimen swabs are definitely COPAN’s because of their superior collection capabilities,” said Dr. Bonner. “And to hear how they ramped up to support those of us in the healthcare field — that is just an amazing feeling. We’re all in this together because we can only do our job as well as the support that’s behind us.”
In order to meet the ongoing demand for testing resources, COPAN accelerated its production and shipping timeline, and built an entire team to ramp this project, hiring nearly 250 new employees who worked alongside Apple engineers, product designers, operations professionals, and others. Together, the teams opened a brand-new facility and set up a state-of-the-art medical supply chain in a matter of weeks to meet the country’s testing needs and help communities shape their responses.
Gabriela Jimenez is one of COPAN’s new employees. She works as a manufacturing supervisor at its Carlsbad, California, facility, managing a team of 50 people and ensuring operations run smoothly across teams. Jimenez previously worked as a manager at a Southern California pizza restaurant for seven years when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She and more than 100 of her colleagues lost their jobs when the restaurant shut down.
“I am really grateful that I was able to find this opportunity because a lot of people out there are unemployed, they’re struggling,” said Jimenez. “It means a lot that I was given a chance to work in such a different industry, and for a company that contributes to something greater. COPAN is doing something that makes an impact out there.”
“There was an all around incredible level of dedication from the teams to be creative and nimble so we could quickly get these critical testing supplies out to customers across the country,” said Norman Sharples, CEO of COPAN Diagnostics. “The driver behind that was that everybody wanted to make a difference within a time frame where we could make a difference. Apple was a remarkable partner in making that possible, and we’re so grateful to all of our American manufacturing partners who designed, built, and shipped equipment in record time.”
Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund was designed to foster and support the innovative production and high-skill jobs that will help fuel a new era of technology-driven manufacturing in the US. To date, Apple has invested over $1.3 billion from the fund to support American manufacturing and innovation. Apple supports more than 450,000 supplier jobs across all 50 states.