OneRepublic, the online retail brand owned by The Washington Post Co., announced Wednesday that it has reached a deal with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop an e-cigarette that will be sold in vending machines nationwide, a move that will allow consumers to purchase a product at an online store or to go directly to a storefront.
The deal is a first step in OneRepublic’s effort to expand its offerings to a broader consumer base.
A separate effort by the company to create an online retailer is still in the early stages, but the announcement Wednesday is the latest in a long-running partnership between the company and the FDA.
The FDA has approved e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional cigarettes for a variety of medical conditions and is also working to legalize e-cigs for recreational use.
The agency has approved nicotine gum for cancer patients and e-cig liquids for people with asthma.
OneRepublic has been aggressively pursuing these initiatives and has invested millions of dollars in research.
The company is also in the process of establishing its own brand of vapor products, and it is working with other companies to launch a vaporizer and vapor delivery service.
It is the second such partnership between OneRepublic and the federal government.
In 2015, the company joined forces with the FDA to help develop the Food and Drugs Administration’s Nicotine Gum Rule.
This rule has led to hundreds of millions of doses of gum and other nicotine products being available at pharmacies.
“We believe this agreement will lead to significant benefits for the thousands of Americans who rely on the onerepublic.com e-commerce site and the millions of customers who rely each month on the retail outlet,” OneRepublic President and CEO Matt McElhinney said in a statement.
The new partnership between a U.N. agency and a major technology company marks another sign that OneRepublic is pursuing new, innovative ways to deliver products.
It also suggests that the company is not beholden to its online competitors and is not interested in being controlled by a few major players.
“As we continue to build the oneregublic.org e-retail platform, we will work with other industry players and regulators to develop innovative solutions that can improve access to nicotine products,” McElinney said.