Gabe Khouli, media relations with Takeda, confirmed that two employees from the Stanton Springs plant near Social Circle have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“The employees are being monitored and are recovering at home. We are offering our support to these individuals, as well as colleagues who may have had contact with them prior to diagnosis,” Khouli said. “Prior to any confirmed cases, we took several precautionary steps including asking employees, when at all possible, to work from home, implementing social distancing measures for those who could not, and increasing cleaning across the site. Given that the Georgia facility is an important manufacturing site for plasma-derived therapies, including the potential treatment for COVID-19 that Takeda is seeking to develop, not all employees can work from home.”
Khouli said Takeda is monitoring the situation continuously to take appropriate follow-up measures as needed.
This comes on the heels on an announcement on March 17 by Hitachi Automotive Systems of the Americas that one of its employees at the Monroe plant had tested positive for the virus. The employee is reported to be from another country and did not register as a case in Walton County, which currently does not have any known cases of COVID-19. One case registered briefly on Tuesday but was subsequently removed the next day. It was reportedly possibly an error in the initial reporting.
Takeda, initially Baxter Industries, was the first company to break ground on the new development at Stanton Springs n the summer of 2012. At that time it was a $1 billion investment in a new 155-acre bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. The global company is now on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. Khouli said the new therapy for will be manufactured at the Stanton Springs site.
“We’ll be using separate equipment from our normal process (smaller/pilot scale equipment) but it will be essentially the same process we use for our current immunoglobulin product,” Khouli said.