Jefferies Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: JEF) today announced it is the first private-sector company to support a newly established public-private consortium launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through its Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). HHS joined with ApiJect Systems America (ApiJect), a public-benefit corporation, to create a U.S.-based high-volume, “surge” drug packaging solution using Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS), which is a process used in sterile manufacturing facilities worldwide that features a small medical-grade plastic container that holds a prefilled volume of medicines or vaccines.
This new consortium called RAPID – Rapid Aseptic Packaging of Injectable Drugs – is intended to establish critically needed surge capacity “to fill and finish, on a rapid basis, hundreds of millions of prefilled syringes to respond quickly and efficiently to widespread health emergencies, such as the novel coronavirus outbreak.” (HHS Public Announcement, March 18, 2020 https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/03/18/hhs-announces-new-public-private-partnership-to-develop-us-based-high-speed-emergency-drug-packaging-solutions.html)
As the first private-sector entity to join this vital public health initiative, Jefferies will support the initiative by providing access to the firm’s vast client network, experienced management team, global financial resources and an immediate initial seed capital commitment of at least $10 million to jumpstart the RAPID network as quickly as possible.
RAPID will build a domestic surge capacity network of up to eight packaging facilities using BFS. FDA-approved BFS technology is currently used to package billions of doses annually for medicines used to treat respiratory conditions, rotavirus oral vaccines and more. RAPID will combine this well-established technology with an innovative interlocking needle hub to achieve population-scale volumes of prefilled syringes.
Jefferies leadership in the consortium provides immediate seed capital and an experienced global team to assist RAPID’s efforts to access the private-sector capital markets. This follows the March 18 announcement by HHS awarding ApiJect up to $456 million for the research and development of the BFS prefilled syringes and domestic network of year-round manufacturing facilities for population-scale surge response capacity during health emergencies.
Rich Handler, CEO of Jefferies, and Brian Friedman, President of Jefferies, commented: “All of us at Jefferies are deeply concerned about, and personally impacted by, the COVID-19 pandemic. We are ready to put the firm’s capital to work in smart solutions, such as RAPID, that are critically needed to help America and the world win the battle against this pandemic. We have always supported new and innovative approaches and we believe RAPID is the right public-private partnership as we face this crisis in both the short term and long term.”
Messrs. Handler and Friedman also noted, “Our support of RAPID puts us right where all leadership companies belong — on the front lines of the war against this global threat. We need to be sure that when therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19 become available health care professionals have the resources and ability to administer them quickly and effectively on a massive, global scale. We believe that ApiJect and RAPID’s goal of creating hundreds of millions of prefilled syringes will make that possible.”
ApiJect CEO, Jay Walker, commented: “Given the urgency to bring back critical elements in the pharma manufacturing supply chain to the U.S., we are especially pleased to be leading the RAPID consortium. Drug packaging and dispensing at population scale within our borders will be essential to safeguard the American public quickly and safely. Winning this battle against COVID-19 requires each and every company, citizen and all levels of government to step up. Having Jefferies as RAPID’s initial, shoulder-to-shoulder supporter brings a global network of clients’ immediate seed capital and a deep and experienced team to expand RAPID’s management capabilities. Its substantial financial support signals to others in the investment community the vital and central role that RAPID, as a public-private partnership led by the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, will play in the war against the current pandemic, as well as future health emergencies and threats.”
Jefferies Financial Group Inc. is a diversified financial services company engaged in investment banking and capital markets, asset management and direct investing. Jefferies Group LLC, our principal subsidiary, is the largest independent, global, full-service investment banking firm headquartered in the U.S. Focused on serving clients for nearly 60 years, Jefferies is a leader in providing insight, expertise and execution to investors, companies and governments. Our firm provides a full range of investment banking, advisory, sales and trading, research and wealth management services across all products in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
ApiJect Systems America is dedicated to making injectable medicines safe and available for everyone. By building a network using high-speed, high volume Blow-Fill-Seal plastics technology, we can supply hundreds of millions of ultra-low-cost pre-filled syringes in 30 days — with optional RFID tags to enable GPS-based mobile tracking. ApiJect is currently contracted with the U.S. Government to create and manage the RAPID Consortium, which when fully funded and built out, will provide the capability to fill and finish up to 330 million pre-filled syringes per month to respond to national or smaller scale health emergencies. See ApiJect at www.rapidconsortium.com.