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The development of the UK’s first dedicated Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC) has moved a step closer with the contract to design an advanced array of laboratory and production facilities within a ‘cleanroom wrap’ environment being awarded to WHP.

The multi-disciplinary engineering company has won the design work as part of plans for the specification of versatile new cGMP suites and filling rooms for the VMIC, which is being built in the Oxford area.

These units will have the capacity to meet Department of Health and Social Care requirements concerning the provision of vaccines in an infectious disease emergency.

The centre, which has secured £66m of funding from UK Research and Innovation, is being developed through the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Medicines Manufacturing challenge and is scheduled to open in 2022.

WHP, which has already completed RIBA Plan of Work 2 covering conceptual design, is utilising 3D BIM modelling to finalise the cleanroom architecture, M&E components, and process and critical utilities systems for a facility that is set to become a national Centre of Excellence.

Also featuring complex zoned HVAC systems to maintain segregation, cleanliness, air pressures, and other environmental controls, the new laboratory and production facilities will be developed in compliance with MHRA regulations.

An established Tier 1 supplier to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturing sectors, WHP won the contract on the back of its extensive experience and track record in designing, engineering and constructing complex viral vector and vaccine facilities. This includes an in-house design team with the expertise in working with alliance partners to develop comprehensive process engineered design solutions.

The WHP VMIC team will be leading the design process through to completion, which has included the selection and appointment of project architects Derell Consultants, as well as managing the complete project design and build package.

David Weir, lead designer on the VMIC project at Gateshead-based WHP, which has designed and built a large array of advanced cleanroom facilities in the UK, said: “VMIC is another major contract success for us. It’s testament to the experience, competence and added value that we bring to multi-million-pound projects across the sector.

“Our process and cleanroom solutions, designed and built to the highest standards, balance health and safety, process demands and energy efficient cleanliness; helping our clients to retain their lead in growing and highly competitive sectors.”

VMIC will be utilised by the UK authorities to manufacture vaccines rapidly in the event of a pandemic hitting the UK. It will also support rapid global responses to emerging, highly-infectious epidemic pathogens, such as Ebola and Zika, as well as develop new technologies, including the manufacture of personalised cancer vaccines and vectors for gene therapy. More at