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Why Kodak is perfectly positioned to pivot to pharmaceuticals

the towers of one of kodak's chemical factories.
Reuters/Adam Fenster
Switching up the ingredients.
  • Katherine Ellen Foley
By Katherine Ellen Foley

Health and science reporter


Last week, the US federal government announced a first-of-its-kind loan to Eastman Kodak, a US-based company once known for its leadership in the film photography industry. Kodak will be using the $765 million to begin producing components for generic drugs—specifically, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the chemicals that make a drug work.

Which raises the question: What’s a photography company got to do with pharmaceuticals?

Chemically speaking, probably a lot. “In the world of chemicals, we have a lot of chemicals that are building blocks—like LEGOs,” says Frankie Wood-Black, a physical chemist currently teaching at Northern Oklahoma College who has 25 years of experience in industrial chemical manufacturing.

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