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NIST Awards $8.9 Million to Fund High-Impact Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Projects to Battle COVID-19

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GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded $8.9 million for high-impact biopharmaceutical manufacturing projects to support the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Donald Trump in March, the funding will go to the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL). 

“The Department of Commerce is proud to award these CARES Act funds as part of the president’s whole-of-government response to defeating COVID-19,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These NIST-funded projects will support critical innovations in testing, tracing and therapies, all of which will save lives, help protect those on the front lines and make workplaces safer for all Americans.”

NIIMBL will use the $8.9 million CARES Act award to fund manufacturing projects at eligible institutions around the country that:

  • Improve COVID-19 testing capabilities, including rapid in-house diagnostic systems.
  • Identify reliable domestic supply chains for the production of respirators and personal protective equipment (PPE). 
  • Validate decontamination approaches for clinical spaces.
  • Develop contact tracing technology for essential workers in pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.
  • Build flexible manufacturing capabilities that allow for the quick scale-up in production of biologic therapies and essential medical products.

This award is the first of several that NIST will make to Manufacturing USA® institutes under the CARES Act. With over 150 member manufacturers, small businesses and academic institutions from across the country, NIIMBL will leverage its public-private partnership model to spur important innovations in the fight against COVID-19. 

“The Manufacturing USA institutes were founded to foster economic development but also to provide the advanced manufacturing this country needs,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan. “Right now, we need solutions that will support our fight against this pandemic, and we are eager for NIIMBL and its member organizations to apply their advanced manufacturing expertise to improving medical treatments, workplace safety and the nation’s ability to respond to pandemics.”

NIST, a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit

Manufacturing USA institutes connect more than 2,000 organizations who partner across hundreds of major projects to quickly move technology from laboratory prototypes to industrial capabilities and provide thousands of people with advanced manufacturing knowledge and skills. To learn more, visit

Released May 27, 2020