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UK Government invests £100m in new COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing site

Published on 23/07/20 at 12:02pm

The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has revealed a new pledge of an additional £100 million investment to help ensure the UK’s manufacturing capacity for an effective COVID-19 vaccine can meet the scale of demand.

To this end, the investment will help fund the establishment of a new Manufacturing Innovation Centre, developed in partnership with Innovate UK and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. This new centre will be able to generate millions of vaccine doses on a monthly basis, and will aid the rollout of an available vaccine for COVID-19 in the UK, as well as for future outbreaks or health crises.

Beyond pandemic preparedness and response, the site will also help accelerate the availability of new therapies for conditions including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

The centre will be built through the “upgrading” of an existing facility in Essex, and is projected to open its doors in December 2021. The Government asserted that the facility would complement the work of the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), currently under construction in Oxfordshire.

Until both of these sites are up and running, the Government has funded a “rapid deployment facility” to the tune of £38 million, which hopes to provide public access to an available vaccine “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,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma on the announcement. “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.”

Matt Fellows

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