UK government invests £100 million into COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing

The UK government has committed £100 million to establish a centre to scale up COVID-19 vaccine and gene therapy manufacturing.

Vaccine manufacturing

The UK government has announced that an additional £100 million will be contributed to vaccine manufacturing to ensure that any successful COVID-19 prophylactic can be produced at scale in the UK.

The investment will fund a Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre to accelerate the mass production of a successful COVID-19 vaccine. Due to open in December 2021, the Centre will have the capacity to produce millions of doses each month ensuring the UK has the capabilities to manufacture vaccines, including for emerging diseases, into the future.

Located in Braintree, Essex, the government initiative will upgrade an existing facility to create a fully-licensed manufacturing centre. 

The new centre will complement the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), which is currently under construction in Oxfordshire following a £93 million investment from the government. Once complete next year, this facility will have the capacity to produce enough vaccine doses to serve the entire UK population at scale.

While the centre is under construction, the government has invested an additional £38 million to establish a rapid deployment facility, opening later this summer, that will support efforts to ensure a successful vaccine is widely available to the public as soon as possible.

“We are taking all necessary steps to ensure we can vaccinate the public as soon as a successful COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. This new Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre, alongside crucial investment in skills, will support our efforts to rapidly produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine while ensuring the UK can respond quickly to potential future pandemics,” Business Secretary Alok Sharma said.

To support these enhanced vaccine manufacturing capabilities, the government will invest £4.7 million for the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult to ensure that the UK has the best skills and expertise through the development of virtual and physical national Centres for Advanced Therapies Training and Skills in partnership with industry.

The facilities and online training platform will provide industry-standard skills and experience in advanced gene therapy and vaccine manufacturing, including sterile techniques for Good Manufacturing Practice.

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive Officer of Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult commented: “This commitment from the government through the Vaccines Taskforce will enable continued growth and productivity in the cell and gene therapy sector, as well as providing vital resource for vaccine manufacturing and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are delighted to be able to deploy the specialist capabilities of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in such an important initiative.”