UK Government announces first-of-its-kind Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre

pharmafile | December 5, 2018 | News story | Research and Development UK, pharma, vaccines 

Plans for a Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in the UK have been unveiled by Business Secretary Greg Clark, in a bid to help tackle deadly diseases around the world and boost growth of the country’s £70 billion life sciences industry.

The centre, which will be based in Oxford, will aim to generate new, cost-effective processes for the development and manufacture of vaccines for distribution around the world, staffed by research teams drawn from academia and industry, including institutions such as London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London, and the University of Oxford.

It has received a £66 million funding injection from UK Research and Innovation through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Medicines Manufacturing challenge, and will be led by the Jenner Institute, a partnership of the University of Oxford and the Pirbright Institute. A further £10 million in funding has been awarded through other partners which include Janssen and MSD.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for the UK to lead in the provision of vaccines against a wide range of outbreak pathogens which threaten to cause major epidemics,” explained Jenner Institute Director Professor Adrian Hill. “The lack of commercial incentive to develop these has now led to this exceptional partnership of major academic and industrial players in the vaccine field, to accelerate a range of vaccines towards large-scale manufacture and stockpile provision for vulnerable populations.

“In parallel, the Centre will develop innovative manufacturing technologies with UK companies and universities to support the next generation of life-saving preventive and therapeutic vaccines.”

The centre is expected to launch in 2022, along with the first developed products later that same year.

“More than 200 years ago the UK pioneered the first vaccine and with it, smallpox was eradicated. Now as the world is threatened by killers such as Ebola and Lassa fever we will build on our significant heritage and history to fight against them with our unmatched reputation for medical research and innovation,” explained Business Secretary Greg Clark. “The government is investing in pioneering vaccine manufacturing as part of our modern Industrial Strategy to create more highly skilled jobs, place the NHS at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies and deliver the biggest increase in public investment in research and development in UK history.”

Matt Fellows

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