The government is streaming an additional £100 million into ensuring that any COVID-19 vaccine making it to the finish line can be produced at scale in the UK.
The investment will fund a state-of-the-art Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Braintree, Essex, to accelerate the mass production of a successful COVID-19 vaccine on domestic shores.
Due to open in December next year, the Centre will have the capacity to produce millions of doses each month, ensuring the UK has the capabilities to manufacture vaccines and advanced medicines, including for emerging diseases, into the future.
The government initiative will upgrade an existing facility to create a fully-licensed manufacturing centre, boosting the UK’s ability to respond to diseases like coronavirus and to prepare for potential future pandemics.
The centre will complement the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), which is currently under construction in Oxfordshire with support from a £93 million government investment.
The government has also invested an additional £38 million in establishing 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 while the new centre is under construction.
“We are taking all necessary steps to ensure we can vaccinate the public as soon as a successful COVID-19 vaccine becomes available,” noted Business Secretary Alok Sharma, commenting on the move.
“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.”