Apple gives $10 million from its manufacturing fund to a COVID-19 testing firm

Steve Dent
Associate Editor
FORT WORTH, TEXAS - MAY 01: A view of the closed Apple University Park Village store on May 01, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. Simon Property Group, which owns University Park Village, plans to start reopening 49 malls and outlet centers amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as states relax stay at home orders. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Apple has awarded $10 million to Copan Diagnostics, a company that manufactures COVID-19 sample collection kits. The funds will help Copan scale up its coronavirus sample kit production capability from several thousand to over a million kits a week by early July. Apple is drawing on its Advanced Manufacturing Fund — normally reserved for close suppliers like Corning — showing the relative urgency it’s placing on the project.

The funds will help Copan expand to a new and larger facility in Southern California, creating around 50 jobs. At the same time, Apple will help Copan source equipment and materials from “companies across the US,” while designing new equipment itself in collaboration with two other companies.

Copan is a “global player in the field of specimen collection and preservation for infectious disease diagnostics,” Apple said, adding that the company’s kits have played “a critical role in the COVID-19 testing process.” Copan is best known for inventing the flocked swab, a nylon-tipped stick that allows for rapid collection and extraction of samples. The company is also the “leading transport medium for collection, transport, preservation, and long-term freeze storage of clinical specimens containing viruses,” according to the press release.

Apple noted that it has donated 10 million face shields and sourced 30 million masks for healthcare professionals. It also developed an app and website in cooperation with the CDC to help users check their symptoms, and is collaborating with Google on a COVID-19 contact tracing app.