Lee company switches gears to make virus-fighting equipment, materials

"There is no doubt that we need every manufacturer who is capable of contributing to be churning out as much PPE, parts for ventilators, and testing equipment right now," said Stephen Boyd, president and CEO of Boyd Technologies in Lee, "but we also need to be working with an eye on the future."

LEE — A local high-tech firm has shifted its manufacturing operations to begin producing personal protective equipment and other materials needed in the fight against COVID-19.

Boyd Technologies, a medical device manufacturer that makes products for the medical and life sciences industries, announced this week that it has "temporarily pivoted" some company activities outside normal business operations to respond to the shortages of personal protective equipment.

"We stake our reputation on our ability to quickly and effectively source materials for use in medical devices," Matthew Boyd, the company's chief commercial officer, said in a statement. "This is something of a differentiator in normal times — today, it has never been more critical."

Following through on a March announcement pledging to do so, the company has begun working directly with hospital systems, state and local authorities and its commercial partners in this effort to supply products for some of the most crucial shortages.

These products include surgical masks, N95 respirators, nasal swabs and point-of-care diagnostics. Boyd also is lending support to its biotechnology partners that are developing treatments and vaccines for large-scale production.

"It took us less than one day to source a crucial component for face shields for Beth Israel Hospital," he said, referring to the medical center in Boston. "We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to provide these solutions and proud of the work we've done so far."

Company President and CEO Stephen Boyd said manufacturing personal protective equipment items at the production facility on Route 102 will help Boyd Technologies in case similar incidents occur in the future.

"There is no doubt that we need every manufacturer who is capable of contributing to be churning out as much PPE, parts for ventilators, and testing equipment right now, but we also need to be working with an eye on the future," he said.

"As an established supplier in the medtech and biotech industries, we're looking for long-term solutions to the supply chain so that we can mitigate this in the future."

Sabic, meanwhile, announced this week that it will provide $1.5 million in monetary and in-kind production donations in its Americas region to assist those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes plastic products that can be used in the manufacture and donation of vitally needed medical equipment.

The Saudi company, which still maintains a presence in Pittsfield, recently announced that it had fabricated plastic personal face shields at the polymer processing center on Merrill Road to be used by employees at Berkshire Health Systems on the front lines against COVID-19.

It was not clear whether any of the company's $1.5 million donation will be used to supply personal protective equipment for other businesses in the Berkshires. But, $500,000 of that sum total is scheduled to be used for the manufacture and shipment of personal protective equipment for health care workers and needed medical equipment like ventilators and patient monitoring devices.

Those products will be made at Sabic's facilities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

Also, Sabic is donating $1 million to community-based agencies like the United Way in the communities where it operates.