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UK's Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre Fast Tracked at Harwell

21 April 2020

Construction work has begun ahead of schedule to build the highly specialist facility that will house the UK’s Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC). VMIC, a not for profit organisation, will provide the first bespoke strategic vaccine development and manufacturing capability for the UK.

A rapidly accelerated programme, due to Covid-19, will aim to see the 7,000 m2 (footprint) state-of-the-art facility opening its doors in 2021, ahead of the original scheduled date in 2022. An unprecedented collaborative effort between The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, Harwell Campus, Vale of the White Horse District Council, UK Research and Innovation (including STFC), and Glencar, the main contractor, has accelerated the construction of this complex build in order to bring the facility on line early so that it can provide an emergency response capability for the UK.

Dr Matthew Duchars, Chief Executive of the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre said:

“Whilst no-one could have predicted the Covid-19 outbreak we are doing all we can to fast track the build so VMIC is set-up to offer long-term support to the UK’s future vaccines needs whilst simultaneously contributing right now to the vital work that will help us emerge from this pandemic.”

Ground works began on the site at Harwell Campus in early April and it is expected that the base-build will be ready for early access for fit-out, in late July/early August.

Talking about the broader importance of VMIC to the Harwell Life Sciences community, Dr Adrian Hill, STFC Lead for the Harwell HealthTec Cluster said:

“The accelerated development is not only timely for the UK in respect to Covid19, but it aligns well with our plans to fast-track the development of the campus as a leading hub for the research and manufacture of advanced medicines and therapies.”

The Centre’s main funding comes through a £65 million grant from UK Research and Innovation, as part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Notes to Editors

About the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre

VMIC was founded in 2019 by three academic institutions (University of Oxford, Imperial College and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) with support from industrial partners (Merck Sharp and Dohme, Johnson and Johnson, and GE Healthcare).

Much of the vaccines research work will be through collaborative ventures with organisations ranging from small and medium sized businesses, through to large multinationals operating in the Life Sciences sector.

The Centre’s main funding comes through a £65 million grant from UK Research and Innovation, as part of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Additional funding is also being provided from commercial and other partners, including Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., Merck Sharp and Dohme and Wellcome. Expertise and training in state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment will be provided by GE Healthcare.

Harwell Science and Innovation Campus is a World-leading science, research, technology & business campus with more than: 6000 people, £2bn of national labs, 60 nationalities and 225 organisations working at the forefront of UK innovation and discovery. 

Twitter: @HarwellCampus 

Website: www.harwellcampus.com

UK Research and Innovation

Last updated: 26 May 2020

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