£14m funding to support rapid COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing scale up

The UK Bioindustry Association industry-led vaccine manufacturing group has welcomed a £14 million investment to support COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing.

a pile of face masks next to a syringe, a thermometer and a jar of coins labelled 'COVID-19'

A UK Bioindustry Association (BIA) industry-led vaccine manufacturing group has welcomed a £14 million investment fund by UK Business Secretary, Alok Sharma. BIA stated the funding will be used to support the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines.

The vaccine manufacturing group said it will support COVID-19 vaccines and therapies that emerge, regardless of whether they are UK or internationally based. The group also stated it will work alongside the government taskforce and continue to report its activities to the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance.

The industry-led vaccine manufacturing group emanated from discussions in early March between Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BIA and key members of the life sciences manufacturing community. From these conversations, the BIA issued a UK manufacturing capacity audit which assessed UK capability to rapidly scale up any vaccine candidates and COVID-19 therapies.

The vaccine manufacturing group is a collaboration of the public sector, private sector companies, academia and universities, chaired by Ian McCubbin OBE, former Vice President for Global Manufacturing and Supply at GlaxoSmithKline.

The group is currently supporting:

  • The Jenner Institute’s adenovirus vaccine candidate at the University of Oxford, led by Dr Sandy Douglas, with Professor Sarah Gilbert and the Clinical BioManufacturing Facility
  • Work at Imperial College London, led by Professor Robin Shattock, to develop an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Bates said: “Today’s announcement will help accelerate the manufacturing capacity and capability of the UK and support vaccine candidates and other COVID-19 therapies, which are needed in this global health crisis.

“The industry-led vaccine manufacturing group has been working closely with Oxford University and Imperial College London, to assess supply chains and understand what they require to scale and rapidly deploy their vaccines. The UK has world leading science in academia, vaccines and advanced therapies and with the Government’s announcement, we can begin to create the capability to industrialise for health and economic benefits now and in the future.

“The BIA is proud to have established this industry-led vaccine manufacturing group, drawing on expertise from across the UK life sciences ecosystem and under the excellent leadership of Ian McCubbin, this project is now an important part of the jigsaw in tackling COVID-19.”