Afternoon Coffee: SirionLabs, KPMG announce strategic alliance; January PMI registers 8th straight month of growth; More at-home Covid tests

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SirionLabs, an artificial intelligence-powered contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology, announced a strategic alliance with audit and tax firm KPMG on Tuesday that will focus on accelerating business transformations for enterprises.

The partnership will specifically look to drive better outcomes in third-party relationships, according to a press release. KPMG brings experience in solving complex business problems for many enterprises. Meanwhile, Sirion’s platform brings integrated management of commercial relationships.

“We see contract management as a strategic enterprise capability that delivers commercial value. All too often we find that contracting is siloed and an administrative burden on sales, procurement and legal. We challenge leaders to think about contracting in a new way. We’re excited to announce that ‘there is a better way’ to approach managing contracting with our relationship with SirionLabs,” Nicola Brooks, Head of Contract Management Transformation for KPMG Law, said in the press release.

“Sirion CLM is uniquely positioned to help enterprises transform into agile, resilient and cohesive businesses to effectively meet the threats and opportunities of the post-COVID world,” Amol Joshi, Chief Revenue Officer at SirionLabs, said in the release. “As the go-to firm for business consulting, KPMG is the trusted advisor helping organizations navigate this journey to future-proof themselves. We are excited and proud to collaborate with KPMG and bring this unprecedented combination of technology and expertise to our clients.”

January PMI shows 8th consecutive month of manufacturing sector growth

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector continued to grow in January, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business numbers released Monday.

The January PMI number registered 58.7%, indicating an expansion in the overall US economy, according to a press release issued by the Institute for Supply Management. January’s reading was down 1.8 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December number of 60.5%.

But January’s number still counts an expansion in the overall economy for the eighth consecutive month because any reading above 50 counts as growth. The economy has continued to grow after a contraction in March, April and May because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The manufacturing economy continued its recovery in January,” Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said in the release. “Survey committee members reported that their companies and suppliers continue to operate in reconfigured factories, but absenteeism, short-term shutdowns to sanitize facilities and difficulties in returning and hiring workers are continuing to cause strains that limit manufacturing growth potential.”

$230 million deal for more at-home Covid-19 tests

The Biden administration struck a $230 million deal to ramp up production of an over the counter, at-home Covid-19 test, according to NBC News.

The Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use of the Ellume tests, which are expected to cost about $30 each. The test works by collecting a nasal swab that users then place into a Bluetooth-connected analyzer that syncs to a smartphone app, the article said.

The company has worked to ramp up manufacturing and will ship 100,000 test kits per month to the US from Australia, the article said. The tests are expected to be available over the counter in pharmacies, drug stores or online.

The deal that the departments of Defense and Health and Human Services struck with Ellume will allow the company "to scale the manufacturing base and capacity of this easy-to-use test," Andy Slavitt, the White House senior advisor for Covid-19 response, told reporters. "Thanks to this contract, they’ll be able to scale the production to manufacture over 19 million test kits per month by the end of this year, 8.5 million of which are guaranteed to the US government."

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