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Thorold plant gets $1M from province to scale-up COVID test production

Norgen Biotek makes saliva-based diagnostic PCR test kits
norgen corona test
Corona virus test kits made at Norgen. Photo: Ludvig Drevfjall/Thorold News

Thorold’s Norgen Biotek is getting support from the Ontario government to ramp up its production of saliva-based COVID tests.

In an announcement on Thursday, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli, said the company would receive $1 million from the province to ramp up its production of the tests.

“It is now more important than ever to not let our guard down, and prepare for the future,” Fedeli said during the announcement, pointing to a previously precarious market for pandemic-related supplies, which relied partially on what he called an ‘unreliable foreign supply.’

“We know that supporting and investing in domestic innovation is a crucial step and will help unleash the economic growth for job creation.”

Fedeli said Norgen had ‘stepped up to the plate’ during the pandemic.

Norgen, that was among the first companies in Canada to begin large-scale production of COVID tests primarily for lab use, is expected to produce around 100,000 saliva-based test kits per day.

Unlike swab-based test kits, Norgen Biotek’s COVID-19 saliva-based diagnostic PCR test kit does not require specialized training to use and aligns with the latest diagnostic testing trends.

The investment, which totals $13 million, is forecasted to create around 100 new jobs at the Schmon Pkwy. facilities.

The money was derived from the Ontario Together Fund, which supports local innovators and businesses to support Ontario’s domestic supply chains.

The investment comes as the Thorold company has been eyeing a U.S expansion.