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New multi-million dollar London medical supply plant fits like a glove

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It was a hand up for London’s economy and for the fight against a future pandemic.

Medical supply manufacturer Medicom announced it will build a $165 million plant in London to produce medical grade nitrile gloves — the first plant of its kind in Canada.

Former mayor Ed Holder, who was part of a team that led the London region through the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, remembers the cries of desperation from the medical community when personal protective equipment was short in supply and high in demand.

“It was very dramatic because what we found was people were so short on supplies — from masks, to gowns, to gloves,” said Holder.

Holder attended Friday’s announcement where Medicom brass were joined by provincial and federal dignitaries in making the announcement.

The plant will be in London’s Innovation Park, near highway 401 and Veterans’ Memorial Parkway. The Canadian company will produce medical grade gloves under its subsidiary Manikheir.

“We’re going to produce our own gloves in Canada through our subsidiary Manikheir,” said Medicom executive chairman and founder Ronald Reuben. “And we’ll be the first to do so. The one and only Canadian glove.”

The investment includes $42 million from the federal government and $30 million from Ontario tax-payers.

Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade speaks at an announcement for a new medical grade gloves plant in London, Ont. on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)

The province’s minister of economic development, job creation and trade, Vic Fedeli, vows Ontario won’t be caught off guard again.

“We found out very abruptly we don’t make that stuff anymore, we just don’t make PPE in Ontario,” said Fedeli. “It was shocking to find that out, and not having that domestic source was a very sobering, I think, day.”

London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos (Liberal) said all democracies facing COVID were in a similar situation.

“Malaysia was the source of most of the medical gloves in our country,” he said. “And this touch wood obviously. God forbid there would be another pandemic, we would suffer the same sort of challenge.”

The new plant will create 135 jobs. London Mayor Josh Morgan said it’s a good fit for the local medical manufacturing community.

“Whenever you see these investments they create catalysts for new investments, new jobs,” said Morgan. “The fact that there’s a research development component to this really aligns with both our strengths on the medical side, as well as the educational institution support that we can give a company like Medicom.”

The plant will produce more than one billion gloves per year. The Ontario government has committed to procuring 500 million gloves annually for the provincial health network.

There’s no timeline on the construction of the plant but Medicom expects to be producing gloves in London by 2026 

Medicom officials are joined by local dignitaries to announce a new medical grade glove plant in London, Ont. on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)

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