UK's Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre Signs First Industry Partnership with Oxford Biomedica
Monday 8th June, 2020, Harwell, Oxfordshire:The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), a not-for-profit organisation established to provide the UK’s first strategic vaccine development and advanced manufacturing capability has signed its first industry partnership agreement with gene and cell therapy group Oxford Biomedica plc.
The agreement signed today involves the organisations collaborating to enable scaled-up manufacture of viral vector based vaccines, with an immediate focus on a vaccine for COVID-19 – the first of which is the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca adenovirus vector vaccine candidate AZD1222 (previously known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19).
This partnership marks the first step for VMIC in delivering the ‘Virtual VMIC’ programme, a rapid deployment facility ready to make vaccines at pace and scale once a viable COVID-19 vaccine has been found, and whilst the permanent facility is being built at Harwell Campus. Due to open in mid-2021 the permanent VMIC facility will have the capability to produce up to 70million pandemic vaccine doses in 4-6 months.
As part of today’s agreement, VMIC will procure specialist manufacturing equipment to rapidly equip two new Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) manufacturing suites. The equipment will be housed within Oxford Biomedica’s new commercial manufacturing centre, Oxbox, located in Oxford. Vaccine manufactured here will form part of the national effort to meet demand for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Oxford Biomedica will provide training and technical assistance to VMIC staff as part of a programme of activity to accelerate the operational readiness and GMP manufacturing capabilities for viral vector vaccine candidates at VMIC’s new manufacturing facility.
The Agreement provides a framework for a longer-term partnership between Oxford Biomedica and VMIC to explore other novel viral vector vaccine candidates.
Matthew Duchars, Chief Executive Officer of the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, said: “This collaboration with Oxford Biomedica means that we can increase the UK’s capacity to manufacture viral vector vaccines in 2020 as part of a national effort in response to COVID-19.
“This marks a major milestone for VMIC in setting up collaborative partnerships with industry. It is the first agreement outside of our founding partners under VMIC’s longer term objective to work with, and enhance, the vaccine industry in the UK and abroad.”
John Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford Biomedica, said: “Since we became involved in addressing the urgent need for UK manufacturing capacity for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222, we have strived to support VMIC’s broader goal of accelerating and supporting UK manufacturing capacity and capabilities for vaccines more generally. This highly collaborative partnership allows for a rapid deployment capability to be established, and also accelerates fit out and utilisation of another two GMP manufacturing suites within our new commercial manufacturing facility, Oxbox”.
Kate Bingham Chair of the Vaccine Taskforce said: “The Government is backing the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre as a crucial part of securing long-term vaccine manufacturing capability in the UK.
“Viral vector COVID-19 vaccine candidates are showing significant promise. This new partnership between VMIC and Oxford Biomedica marks a major milestone in increasing the UK manufacturing capacity of viral vector vaccines and will specifically help ensure that we have the right skills in place to manufacture a vaccine as soon as one is available.”
Both VMIC and Oxford Biomedica are original members of the University of Oxford, Jenner Institute manufacturing consortium focused on scaling-up the GMP manufacture of AZD1222, which has entered clinical trials at multiple sites in the UK. VMIC have also been working as part of the national vaccines industry taskforce where they advise on how manufacturing any COVID-19 vaccine candidates can be scaled-up.
About the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC)
VMIC is part of the national science infrastructure and has been established to fast track the development and manufacture of early stage vaccines for known diseases, and to serve as the UK’s response to emerging infectious diseases. VMIC was founded in 2018 by the University of Oxford, Imperial College and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with support from industrial partners, MSD, Johnson and Johnson, and Cytiva, formerly GE Life Sciences. VMIC’s 7,000 m2 state-of-the-art vaccines manufacturing facility will open in 2021 following a rapidly accelerated development schedule and will be located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. The Centre’s main funding comes from UK Research and Innovation, as part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, with further contributions provided by industry partners and other businesses. More information can be found at www.vmicuk.com
About Oxford Biomedica
Oxford Biomedica (LSE:OXB) is a leading, fully integrated, gene and cell therapy group focused on developing life changing treatments for serious diseases. Oxford Biomedica and its subsidiaries (the "Group") have built a sector leading lentiviral vector delivery platform (LentiVector®), which the Group leverages to develop in vivo and ex vivo products both in-house and with partners. The Group has created a valuable proprietary portfolio of gene and cell therapy product candidates in the areas of oncology, ophthalmology, CNS disorders, liver diseases and respiratory disease. The Group has also entered into a number of partnerships, including with Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, Sanofi, Axovant Gene Therapies, Orchard Therapeutics, Santen, Boehringer Ingelheim, the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium and Imperial Innovations, through which it has long-term economic interests in other potential gene and cell therapy products. Additionally, the group has signed a Clinical and Commercial Supply Agreement with AstraZeneca for manufacture of the adeno based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZN1222. Oxford Biomedica is based across several locations in Oxfordshire, UK and employs more than 550 people. Further information is available at www.oxb.com
Oxbox is Oxford Biomedica’s new 7,800 m2 commercial manufacturing centre, located in Oxford, UK. Phase I, which became operational in 2020, is 4,200 m2 of developed area consisting of six GMP clean room suites - four for vector production and two for fill-finish, warehousing and cold chain facilities and support laboratories. The Company received MHRA approval for the first two suites in Oxbox last month. Phase II will provide for flexible expansion for a further six GMP clean room suites. This world class facility is expected to more than double Oxford Biomedica’s manufacturing capacity, supporting further growth in revenues.
About UK Research and Innovation
UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. Our aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.
- The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre
- The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre