GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids medical manufacturer has been awarded a federal contract to help prepare and distribute coronavirus vaccines.

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing announced Thursday that it was picked to expand the nation’s fill/finish capacity so that doses could be sent out quickly once a formula earns approval.

“What we’re doing right now is trying to get prepared well ahead of time so that when we do have that (Food and Drug Administration) inspection, we’ll already have a process that is well defined and issues have been resolved,” GRAM Vice President of Operations Steve Nole told News 8.

GRAM won’t be developing a vaccine. Rather, it will be mix and pack into vials vaccines or other COVID-19 treatments created by other companies.

“We are extremely honored to be chosen to serve our country and help respond to the demands and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” GRAM President and CEO Tom Ross said. “As a homegrown company with a strong culture built on teamwork and accountability, our team will confidently deliver the safest and highest-quality solutions that will ultimately be life-saving for the American people.”

The work will be done at GRAM’s 100,000-square-foot facility on Front Avenue SW south of Fulton Street.

Founded in 2010, GRAM added 60,000 square feet of production space two years ago. Little did leaders know at the time just how vital that expansion would be or that employees would play a role in controlling a pandemic.

“Two years ago, we never could have predicted anything like this,” Nole said. “They’re elated… The GRAM culture and the GRAM quality mindset throughout the entire company, they’ ready to respond. They’re excited about this.”

The company is looking to fill several new jobs created by the vaccine contract.

Elsewhere in West Michigan, the Pfizer facility in Portage is already manufacturing a vaccine to go out if clinic trials prove successful. Pfizer is developing the vaccine alongside Germany-based BioNTech SE and has inked a $2 billion deal to deliver millions of doses to the U.S. government. 

**Correction: A previous version of this article misnamed the company as Grand Rapids Aseptic Manufacturing rather than Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing. We regret the mistake, which has been fixed.