A Little Elm company has already played a major role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and now it’s preparing to be an even bigger factor.

On Tuesday the Little Elm Town Council approved an ordinance amendment and a development agreement with Retractable Technologies, Inc. (RTI) for the expansion of its facility near Lobo Lane and Debbie Street. RTI has spent the last year manufacturing syringes that have been used to provide COVID-19 vaccines across the country. 

This will be the latest in multiple expansions for RTI. It first expanded its facility in 2008, and in 2020 it received funding from the federal government to expand even more to provide COVID-19 vaccine syringes. RTI received more federal funding earlier this year for another expansion.

Tuesday, Larry Salerno, director of operations at RTI, described the company’s role in helping vaccinate the country.

“We were under a great deal of pressure for whatever commitment to the U.S. government to get out syringes during this pandemic,” Salerno said. “And with the help of the people here in expanding our facility it’s really helped. We’ve shipped hundreds of millions of syringes to the U.S. government over the last year, and we’re expected to ship hundreds of millions through the rest of this year to the U.S. government.”

Salerno said there are three different companies that are providing syringes for the pandemic, and he said RTI is the largest.

“So if you go anywhere in this country and you’re getting a shot you have a good chance of getting our Vantage Point syringes,” Salerno said. “It’s been recognized because it has low dead space, and it’s getting an extra dose out of a five-dose vial.”

With the next expansion RTI is expected to add two wings to an existing building to provide an additional 13,214 square feet of office and amenity space. Salerno said the expansion will grow the company’s workforce to approximately 300 employees by early 2022.

“We’ve been working very hard to get our new construction finished,” Salerno said. “We have temporary (certificates of occupancy) and are bringing in equipment. By the end of the year we’ll be bringing in people and getting up to this 300 where we’ll be bringing things from off shore to be making them in America.”

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