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India’s vaccine manufacturers fund £50m Oxford research hub

Image: Cancer Research UK [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Poonawalla family gift to establish facility housing University of Oxford’s major vaccine development programmes

The University of Oxford has received a £50 million donation from the owners of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer to establish a new vaccinology research facility.

The Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building will be named after the Poonawalla family, owners of the Serum Institute of India, which has been instrumental in manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines—particularly for low- and middle-income countries.

The Serum Institute collaborated with the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute to roll out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine globally.

Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute, said the success of this collaboration “has highlighted the great potential of partnerships between leading universities and large-scale manufacturers to develop and supply vaccines for very cost-effective deployment at exceptional scale”.

The new building will house over 300 research scientists and host the university’s major vaccine development programmes, including the headquarters and main laboratories for the Jenner Institute. It will be built on the same site as the recently announced Oxford University Pandemic Sciences Centre, at the University’s Old Road Campus (pictured), with close links between the two facilities.

Natasha Poonawalla, chair of Serum Life Sciences through which the donation will be made, said “the development of vaccines has been the lifelong focus of the Poonawalla family” and that the gift would help Oxford “take their research to the next level”.