The Biden administration plans to announce on Wednesday a $137 million contract for Millipore Sigma, a unit of Germany's Merck KGaA, to boost production capacity of a highly constrained component of rapid coronavirus tests, a senior administration official told Reuters.
The money will allow the company over three years to build a new facility to produce nitrocellulose membranes, the paper that displays test results, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. That, in turn, will allow for 85 million more tests to be produced per month, the official said.
It was not immediately clear when the facility would ramp up to full production.
"It's probably the most constrained piece of technology in expanding capacity, in making more of these over-the-counter or point-of-care tests," the official said. "This amount they're going to produce is roughly equivalent to another billion over-the-counter tests being able to be made," he added.
Millipore Sigma is a supplier to major US Covid-19 antigen test manufacturers, he said, without providing further details.