Somerville's Formlabs to Receive State Grant to Bolster COVID19 Related Manufacturing

Rep Connolly was pleased to recently join with the Administration to announce Formlabs in Somerville would receive a portion of the $9.5 million in grants to boost production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical materials needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Reopening Massachusetts plan. The new awards, were made through the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT) to 15 grantees, including Massachusetts manufacturers, that are producing needed items such as masks, gowns, ventilators, swabs, and testing materials, and the capacity to test them.
Thirteen of the grant recipients are producing masks (surgical and N95), gowns, ventilators, swabs, and transport media, while the other two are involved with the testing of products produced by M-ERT partners and others to gain FDA approval. Funding was made available for equipment, working capital, materials and workforce development through a competitive application process. Grant applications continue to be considered on a rolling basis.

"I am excited to announce State funds will be used to unlock the existing potential of the manufacturing industry right here in Cambridge and Somerville. The demand for testing supplies and protective equipment is of course critical to combating COVID-19, and these grants support the need of our local manufacturers to pivot operations and increase capacity," Rep Connolly said. "Thank you to Formalbs for stepping up and providing a much needed component so that the Commonwealth can continue to ramp up testing."
The M-ERT is a coordinated effort comprised of members from academia, industry, and government to address the urgent need for PPE to support healthcare workers on the front-lines of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response. Today’s awards are part of $10.6 million in funding announced last month, and are made possible through a partnership between the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech), Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), Commonwealth Corporation, and the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2).
Managed by MassTech, the quasi-public economic development agency that oversees advanced manufacturing programs for the Commonwealth, the M-ERT was devised as an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to assist manufacturers in targeted ways as the demand for PPE continues. The agency recently launched a new website that profiles nearly 20 Massachusetts manufacturers that have shifted operations.
“Experts from our manufacturing community, healthcare systems, and universities came together in early March to address this crisis head-on, helping numerous companies pivot their operations and get critical masks, gowns, face shields, and other necessary items into the hands of our frontline workers,” said Carolyn Kirk, executive director of MassTech. “With these new awards, we’re boosting the ability of our homegrown manufacturers to produce even more of these critical products, allowing them to meet the continued demand here in Massachusetts and beyond.”
“Our 'Made in MA' manufacturers continue to step up to make the necessary operational pivots and expansions to make this equipment that is critical to the COVID-19 response,” said Timothy J. McGourthy, interim president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. “The MLSC is proud to be part of a collaborative effort that leverages the Commonwealth’s manufacturing strength and academic expertise to enable a continuous flow of PPE to our medical professionals.”
“Our grant programs are designed to provide workers with the skills they need for lifelong careers, but today they’re providing a lifeline to our dedicated frontline workers. We’re grateful that we can assist in this critical effort, support manufacturers impacted by the pandemic, and bolster the stabilization of the Massachusetts economy now and as the state strategically reopens,” said Commonwealth Corporation CEO and President Christine Abrams.
“AFFOA is grateful for the opportunity to work with the M-ERT. The combination of clinical expertise coupled with the deep and broad manufacturing reach enabled the team to make significant impact in a very short amount of time,” said Sasha Stolyarov, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA). “I have no doubt that investments made by M-ERT and its manufacturing partners will not only help us get through this pandemic but will have lasting impact on our emergency preparedness as a state and as a nation.”

As of May 21, 2020

(including N-95s)




Award Description

Boyd Technologies



Equipment for surgical and N95 mask production lines.

Louis M. Gerson Co., Inc. (Gerson)



Obtain additional machinery to increase melt-blown filter capacity and enhance existing production respiratory protection products.

ViruDefense Inc. (in partnership w/ Baril Corporation, Haverhill)



Expand surgical N95 manufacturing through purchase of new equipment.





Surgical Masks




Award Description

99 Degrees Custom



Additional automated machinery to respond to demand for level-1 and level-2 gowns.

Contollo Mass Manufacturing


$30,000 workforce training

Facility preparation, machinery pivoting, material, training, and a quality management system.





Ventilators and Ventilator Parts




Award Description

Blackstone Valley Machining



New equipment for the machining of parts for ventilators.

Boston Engineering Corporation



Provider of product development consulting for companies manufacturing electromechanical. Grant funds 8 weeks of support to manufacturers to respond to ventilator demand, working with OEMs that already have FDA approval, where possible.


West Boylston

$80,000 workforce training

Facilitation and training to implement three FDA-compliant manufacturing lines, with material supplied by Zoll in Chelmsford, for production of FDA-cleared ventilators.




Boost production of FDA-approved device and support supply chain. Partnering with Product Resources in Newburyport to manufacture.

Vecna Technologies



Development of emergency ventilation capacity for Massachusetts at low-cost /subsidized-cost, utilizing MIT’s E-Vent design. 

Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) PracticePoint



Support development of a low-cost, readily reproducible powered resuscitator, which can be scaled up quickly; purchase of raw materials and components from identified suppliers, validation supplies, and contract manufacturing. 





Testing of Products




Award Description

Advanced Functional Fabrics of America



To stand up and sustain regional testing capability for PPE products, building on previous work at MIT & MIT Lincoln Labs to support the Mass. Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). A regional testing capability will allow rapid down-selection of the best designs and will allow the Commonwealth to validate foreign purchases of PPE before they are distributed to healthcare workers and first responders.

UMass Lowell Fabric Discovery Center



Funds the purchase of PPE performance testing equipment to support Massachusetts manufacturers. Will enable high-volume screening of a myriad of candidate materials for N95, gowns, masks, etc., allowing manufacturers to triage underperforming candidate materials.





Swabs and Transport Media




Award Description

MatTek Corporation



Boost existing production of transport media and spur new production of viral replication media.



$20,000 workforce training

Support scaling production of a 3D-printed nasopharyngeal swab manufacturing facility in Massachusetts.









Since the outbreak of the COVID -19 pandemic in Massachusetts, the M-ERT has been tasked with mobilizing, organizing, and operationalizing the critical path work streams necessary for the Commonwealth’s manufacturers to pivot their operations to produce needed materials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly 750 companies from around the world have submitted their interest to the M-ERT, including nearly 450 from Massachusetts.  Of those, 27 companies have made it through the program, producing nearly 3.5 million items of PPE and other critical materials to date.