Apple has announced that it’s giving $10 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to COPAN Diagnostics, a company that produces COVID-19 testing kits that are critical to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus.
According to Apple’s announcement, the funding will help COPAN vastly scale up its production of testing kits, “expanding production from several thousand today to more than one million kits per week by early July.” Apple is also helping COPAN source and design new equipment for the company’s new facility in California.
“COPAN is one of the world’s most innovative manufacturers of sample collection kits for COVID-19 testing, and we’re thrilled to partner with them so they can expand as we work to address this critical issue for our nation,” commented Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a press release. “I couldn’t be prouder of our teams for bringing all of their energy, passion, and innovative spirit to supporting the country’s COVID-19 response.”
The funding joins Apple’s ongoing efforts to contribute to the global COVID-19 response. The company is also using its supply chain to source masks for health care workers, design and donate its own face shields, and develop a screening app and website with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most notably, there’s the company’s upcoming contact tracing system that it’s developing in a rare collaboration with Google to help track the spread of the virus.
Established in 2017, Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund was a $1 billion fund — later expanded to $5 billion — that exclusively focuses on investing in domestic manufacturing and job creation in the United States. It’s a move that many have speculated was designed to help win favor with President Donald Trump who has long expressed a desire that Apple move more of its production work — including its iPhone manufacturing — to the US.
While the $10 million award to COPAN is a drop in the bucket compared to the $5 billion fund, it’s still notable since Apple tends to reserve that fund for Apple suppliers in the United States. Past major allocations have included the $450 million Apple awarded to Corning (which produces the Gorilla Glass found in iPhones), $390 million to Finisar (which makes lasers used to enable Face ID on iPhones and proximity features on AirPods), and $10 million to the Elysis aluminum partnership (which supplies carbon-free aluminum to Apple).