Centre expected to complement Oxfordshire’s Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, which is currently under construction
The UK government has announced a £100 million investment in a new centre aimed at scaling up manufacturing of a potential Covid-19 vaccine and gene therapy.
Set to open in December 2021, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre will be based in an upgraded existing facility in Braintree, Essex. It will complement the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, which is currently under construction in Oxfordshire thanks to a £93m government investment.
Business secretary Alok Sharma said the new centre would support efforts to “rapidly produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine while ensuring the UK can respond quickly to potential future pandemics”.
Kate Bingham, chair of the Vaccine Taskforce, described the announcement as “another important milestone”.
“In order to vaccinate our high-risk populations at the earliest opportunity, the government has agreed to proactively manufacture vaccines now, so we have millions of doses of vaccine ready if they are shown to be safe and effective.
“The acquisition of this state-of-the-art manufacturing centre will not only help us with this, but also ensures we are well-placed as a country to be able to cope with any pandemics or health crises in the future.”
In addition, the government announced that it would invest £4.7m in the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult to develop virtual and physical national Centres for Advanced Therapies Training and Skills. The centres aim to provide industry-standard skills and experience in advanced gene therapy and vaccine manufacturing.