Updated: July 29, 2020 06:17 PM
Created: July 29, 2020 05:01 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The news around Kodak is still buzzing.
Shares jumped more than 300% Wednesday because of a new contract for Kodak to start making ingredients for generic drugs.
News10NBC interviewed George Conboy of Brighton Securities about what that means. Watch the full interview in the player below (mobile users, click here):
In five years, Kodak should make 25% of the materials for every generic drug sold in the U.S. Right now, 90% of that is made in China, India and other countries.
The money to launch it comes from a tiny federal agency.
And Wednesday Berkeley Brean learned that agency was the brain-child of a kid from Pittsford.
Todd Moss grew up in Pittsford.
He rose to become Assistant Deputy Secretary of State for Condoleezza Rice and President Bush.
That's when he worked with an agency called the Office of Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
It was the government's investment bank for poor but growing foreign countries.
In 2011, at his State of the Union Address, President Obama proposed consolidating agencies including OPIC.
Dr. Todd Moss, Center for Global Development: “And we worried that combing was going to take this little agency that we loved but we wanted to be bigger and it would be swallowed up.”
So Moss and his partner started coming up with a plan, writing blogs and talking to lawmakers.
In 2013, he testified to a Senate panel with a plan to change the agency into the Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
In 2018, DFC was passed in a bipartisan vote and signed by President Trump.
In January 2020, it officially started.
Seven months later, at Kodak Center, the DFC loaned Kodak $765 million to launch Kodak Pharmaceuticals.
Brean: “What was it like to witness something that you helped create sign this deal with Kodak?”
Dr. Todd Moss, Center for Global Development: “So, on the one hand, it actually made me a little nervous. This tool that is supposed to help spur investment around the world was being turned inward. It's a sign that our tools domestically are broken.”
On May 14, the president's executive order said DFC could respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Making the ingredients for generic drugs in the United States is part of that.
At the news conference, Brean asked the officials to prove this Kodak deal is going to live up to its promises.
Dr. Todd Moss, Center for Global Development: “I can say we've seen these types of partnerships between the private sector and government finance really do wonders in a lot of markets.”
One of the promises is the creation of 360 jobs.
Brean: “So when do you start? When does someone turn the lights on and start working?”
Jim Continenza, Kodak Exec. Chairman: “We're doing it now. We're making some unregulated KSMs.”
KSM stands for key starting materials. The first step in making a generic drug.
Brean: “When do you start hiring these 360 people?”
Continenza: “So probably as we start to build up and finalize.”
Kodak's Chief Technical Officer Terry Taber says the jobs will come in waves.
Taber: “The first wave will be starting construction and that will be the indirect jobs. Construction first. Then specialists. Then manufacturing.”
The work will happen at Eastman Business Park.
Brean reached the Director of Pharmacy at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Brean: “Is that difficult work or is pretty basic?”
Curtis Haas, Director of Pharmacy for the University of Rochester Medical Center: “I think for many of the small molecules drugs, it's pretty straight forward.”
Haas says he's not surprised Kodak was picked to do the work.
Haas: “For a former powerhouse chemical manufacturer makes a lot of sense honestly.”
Copyright 2020 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company