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UK Government announces funding for scale up of COVID-19 vaccine with additional investment to support upskilling in Cell and Gene Therapy and Vaccine manufacturing

Today the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has awarded £100 million to fund a Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre to accelerate production of a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK. The centre, located in Braintree, Essex, is due to open in December 2021 and will have the capacity to produce millions of doses of vaccines.

An additional £4.7 million will be awarded for upskilling in advanced therapy and vaccine manufacturing. The funds will be utilised to expand existing training facilities and develop a virtual learning platform to address the demand for skills in the UK cell and gene therapy industry.

Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the BioIndustry Association (BIA) commenting on the funding for the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult said:

“The funding will help accelerate the manufacturing capacity and capability of the UK, ensuring that the successful COVID-19 vaccine candidate can be scaled-up as soon as possible.

“Today’s announcement will not only allow us to respond to immediate threats such as COVID-19 but will enable us to manufacture vaccines for emerging diseases that we may face in the future.

“The key capacity is the skill of the people who can manufacture vaccines, so it’s heartening to see additional funding that will give the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult the resources to upskill the existing life sciences workforce and provide opportunities for those from more traditional manufacturing backgrounds, to transfer into bioprocessing.

“Cell and gene therapies are a transformative new category of medicines whose full potential is only just beginning to emerge. It is testament to the strength of the UK life sciences sector, which has over 70 Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products companies working within it, that government has decided to invest money into this training scheme.”