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LVEDC Annual Report Highlights Life Sciences Companies’ Responses to COVID-19

By Colin McEvoy on May 17, 2021

Life science research and manufacturing is one of the target sectors for attraction in the Lehigh Valley, and its companies have always been defined by innovation.

That’s why when COVID-19 reached the Lehigh Valley last year, the region’s life science, biological, and biomedical companies stepped up to the challenges created by the pandemic, taking steps and creating products to help fight the deadly disease.

The stories of these companies were featured in the recently-released Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) 2020 Annual Report, which highlights the year in economic development in the region.

The full 36-page report can be viewed below or downloaded in PDF form here.

Among the featured companies was OraSure Technologies. As with the HIV outbreak and the Ebola virus, OraSure ws on the front lines against the coronavirus, developing a rapid COVID-19 test that could be easily used at home. The product was featured on the nationally-broadcast CBS News Sunday Morning.

The LVEDC Annual Report also featured companies like U.S. Specialty Formulations, which worked to develop a COVID-19 vaccine; Sharp, which has been supporting clinical trials related to COVID-19; and the Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network.

The Lehigh Valley’s large companies and health networks aren’t the only ones responding head-on to the COVID-19 crisis. The LVEDC report also highlighted companies from the region’s small business community that diverted from their regular business practices to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak and other health crises.

These included Filament Innovations & ProtoCAM, LifeAire Systems, Polymer Contours, Pulse Innovations, Saladax Biomedical, various Lehigh Valley distilleries that created hand sanitizer, and more.

Additionally, as the Annual Report states, LVEDC itself responded swiftly to the pandemic, providing critical support to the regional business community and reassigning the majority of its staff to assist with emergency financing applications.

LVEDC submitted loan applications totaling $2.3 million in funding for small businesses through Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program. The organization also provided information about funding sources available for impacted small businesses, and established dedicated COVID-19 resource and funding information pages on its website.

Additionally, LVEDC distributed business impact surveys about COVID-19 mitigation efforts, helped gather supplies for health care providers from the business community, and partnered with the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America on grants for Lehigh Valley women- and minority-owned businesses.

The LVEDC 2020 Annual Report was designed by Michelle Chrin, who has designed the organization’s annual report for the last five years, as well as its Commercial Real Estate Reports, Investment Opportunities brochure, Board Directory, and other marketing materials.

For the last three consecutive years, LVEDC Annual Report has won an International Economic Development Council Excellence in Economic Development award for Best Annual Report (Population Greater Than 500,000).

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