Jaffrey firm seeks to hire 160 by year’s end, transitions to 24/7 operation

JAFFREY – MilliporeSigma, a firm which makes filtration devices used in the pharmaceutical industry, announced that they were hiring 160 individuals for all shifts by the end of the year.

This is to meet the demand for production of their products, which has been fueled by their clients’ efforts to develop COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. The work they do in Jaffrey is supporting more than 45 customer projects to develop and manufacture vaccines for COVID-19.

Currently, MilliporeSigma continues to support many of their clients working on COVID-19 projects through their products and services, providing for more than 35 testing solutions (RT-PCR and serological diagnostics for both high-throughput centralized and distributed point-of-care settings), including eight of the top 10 IVD market leaders; more than 50 different vaccines, consisting of several platforms that include DNA, Inactivated, Live Attenuated Virus, Viral Vector, Protein Subunit and mRNA and more than 20 monoclonal antibody, plasma products and antivirals.

Additionally, they are tapping into their existing collaborations to support projects that target Covid-19 vaccine and therapy development.

Their collaboration with the Jenner Institute was instituted in 2017 to lay the foundation for large scale vaccine production; today, they support the process development and scale up of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, which is now in clinical trials. Their collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine began in 2018 to develop vaccines for neglected tropical diseases, and today they are working to advance process improvements for manufacturing of two Covid-19 vaccine candidates in parallel, including a novel Covid-19 vaccine candidate and a repurposed SARS vaccine candidate, RBD219-NA, using some of their process components developed collaboratively.

According to head of separations and instruments technology cluster for MilliporeSigma, Michael Galleno, being a company with essential workers, MilliporeSigma never faced any kind of a shutdown.

“Many of the products that we produce at the Jaffrey location are absolutely critical to the pharmaceutical and biotherapeutic supply chain,” he stated. “We call them ‘high-performance membranes,’ or filtration devices, and these specific devices and membranes are core technology that we have at the Jaffrey location.”

For COVID, their work became even more important.

Purchasing materials for MilliporeSigma projects was, “a secondary challenge during a pandemic,” according to Poggi.

“Our suppliers faced the same challenges that we did,” he said. “Everybody, in one way or another, all functions were part of that.”

“Like David said, our plan is first and foremost to protect the employees,” Galleno said. “And what we make in Jaffrey, we are very proud to support the template for many of the biopharmaceuticals, of which vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, plasma products, diagnostics, antiviral programs, all of those use a very similar template. And that template requires some of the products made out of Jaffrey.”

The most difficult challenge during this world health crisis, according to Galleno, has been ramping up capacity.

“We’re not recreating the template,” Galleno said.

“And our primary challenge during this is accelerating capacity at the pace at which we need to accelerate it,” Poggi added. “It’s almost unheard of from an operations perspective to get the capacity we need as quickly as we need it.”

And because the demand for product is so high, MilliporeSigma is now transitioning to a 24/7 operation and to do that, more personnel is necessary.

“We’re adding manufacturing operators,” he said. “And we’re adding all the support staff necessary to run a 24/7 operation, which includes quality engineering, process engineering, laboratory support and then leadership as well. Those are the positions that we’re looking for and that’s really our short-term focus right now.”

Parallel to that, Poggi said that MilliporeSigma has several investments underway to bring on additional equipment and staffing to further ramp up capacity. And he underlined that their biggest issue is just how to accelerate production as quickly as possible.

“At the end of the day, our products are going to be used to make the vaccine,” Poggi said. “And by no means, we don’t want to be the limit on what can be and how much can be made.”

“Many customers develop vaccines or therapies against all sorts of different types of diseases and all sorts of different types of ailments,” Galleno said. “The process for doing that utilizes many of our products.”

Specifically, for SARS and MERS or another virus, that template for vaccine development relies on many of the products that are made by MilliporeSigma in Jaffrey.

“A good way to understand this is to liken it to how to brew beer,” Poggi shared. “You use similar equipment to brew different types of beer. And you need a vessel to grow the yeast, the sugar, the system is in place to purify it and develop it. Vaccine development and monoclonal antibody therapy developments are very similar. Definitely more scientific in nature, but a very similar process.”

For career information, visit emdmillipore.com/careers.