- Industrial glassmaker Corning Inc. on Wednesday said it plans to create 185 new jobs at two sites in New York to support the manufacturing of its Valor Glass product, a type of glass packaging designed for biologic medicines or other injectables.
- The increased hiring is part of a $500 million planned investment in pharmaceutical packaging announced by Corning in July, unveiled together with drugmakers Merck & Co. and Pfizer Inc.
- All told, Corning envisions hiring 1,000 new staff to ramp up production of Valor Glass, and indicated in its Wednesday announcement that it would in the future add jobs at a facility in New Jersey and an undisclosed site in the southeastern U.S.
Known best for its "Gorilla Glass," Corning sees a lucrative market opportunity in producing better glass packaging for pharmaceuticals.
The glass maker developed Valor Glass specifically for use in the drug industry and teamed up with Merck and Pfizer to test and develop the new material — which is particularly applicable for biologic drugs.
Biologics, unlike small molecule medicines, typically come as an injectable and are usually stored in small glass containers. In addition to being more resistant to cracking, Valor Glass is also designed to reduce particle contamination.
Currently, most of Corning's revenue comes from its Display Technologies unit. Just under 10% of product sales in the third quarter were attributable to its life sciences business, which manufactures glass and plastic labware, as well as scientific media and reagents.
Pharmaceutical technologies, on the other hand, accounted for less than $50 million in sales during the most recent three-month period.
But Corning believes Valor Glass and its pharmaceutical applications could be its next big business opportunity.
"Although this industry moves at a deliberate pace, we believe Valor has the potential to power Corning's growth for the next decade and beyond," said Corning CEO Wendell Weeks in an Oct. 24 conference call with analysts.
In the company's original announcement on Valor Glass back in July, Corning said it could eventually invest as much as $4 billion in support of the new product.