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December 7, 2020

Guilford swab maker Puritan wins Inc. 'company of the year,' and a legal victory

File Photo / Maureen Milliken The growth of Puritan Medical Products in response to the need for COVID-19 test swabs has led to the creation of hundreds of jobs, and now recognition by Inc. magazine.

Puritan Medical Products Co., the Guilford manufacturer of medical swabs used in COVID-19 testing, has been named Company of the Year by Inc. magazine in its inaugural Best in Business Awards.

The awards “celebrate companies — big and small — making a superlative impact on their industries, their neighbors and our world,” Inc. said in a special issue, released last week. The magazine considered 2,700 applicants throughout the country for “best” honors in 37 industry categories, but the overall prize went to Puritan.

The Inc. editors wrote: “The cream of these entries countered so much uncertainty this year by asking more of themselves: What else can we do? Whom else can we help? How else can we change the world?”

Puritan has captured international attention because it’s one of only two manufacturers in the world producing the type of nasopharyngeal swabs needed in coronavirus tests.

With a total of $138 million in federal funding this year, Puritan has stepped up the swab production and is on track to turn out 90 million units a month, up from 20 million. The company is adding two new production facilities in Pittsfield and has hired hundreds of additional workers.

In June, the company’s celebrity had increased so much that President Donald Trump visited the Guilford plant.

In addition to the COVID-19 swabs, Puritan produces a wide range of laboratory and clinical specimen collection products for the medical, environmental, scientific and other industries. The company began in 1919 as a toothpick manufacturer, and Mainebiz has reported frequently on its growth, even in pre-pandemic times.

In a statement, Puritan co-owner and Executive Vice President Timothy Templet commented on the Inc. recognition: “The obstacles we faced this year have been unlike any other, and from bringing in extra workers to adding new infrastructure our team rose to the occasion time and time again. My grandfather laid the groundwork for Puritan in 1919 amid a global pandemic, and I couldn’t be prouder to see the role we’re playing today in meeting the growing need for COVID-19 testing supplies.”

In other Puritan news, the company on Monday said a federal patent court in Germany has ruled that the other COVID-19 swab maker, Copan Italia S.p.A., must reimburse the Maine company for legal costs incurred in a seven-year intellectual property dispute.

Copan had filed three lawsuits in German claiming certain Puritan swabs infringed on Copan patents. All three were defeated, and Copan lost a similar suit filed in Sweden. Not the German court is requiring Copan to pay legal costs, which were not disclosed in a news release.

“This is the end of the line for the long-lasting litigation proceedings in Germany,” Puritan said in the release.

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