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Oxford Biomedica signs collaboration agreement with VMIC
Oxford Biomedica, a leading gene and cell therapy group, has signed a collaboration agreement with the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), a not-for-profit organisation established to provide the UK’s first strategic vaccine development and advanced manufacturing capability.
This five-year deal will involve the organisations working collaboratively to enable the manufacture of viral vector-based vaccines, contributing towards a rapid increase in UK domestic capacity for this specialised field of vaccine manufacturing.
Both Oxford Biomedica and VMIC are original members of the Oxford University manufacturing consortium focussed on scaling-up the manufacture of the adenovirus vector-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, which has entered clinical trials at multiple sites in the UK. AstraZeneca has now taken over global responsibility for the manufacturing, development and distribution for AZD1222 with an initial clinical and commercial supply agreement for multiple batches signed between AstraZeneca and Oxford Biomedica in May.
As part of the collaboration agreement, VMIC will provide manufacturing equipment for Oxford Biomedica to rapidly equip two new manufacturing suites within Oxford Biomedica’s new 7,800 m2 commercial manufacturing centre, Oxbox. This will provide significant additional manufacturing capacity and enable further scale up for AZD1222 from the summer of 2020.
In return, Oxford Biomedica will provide training and technical assistance to VMIC staff to accelerate the operational readiness and manufacturing capabilities for viral vector vaccine candidates at VMIC’s new manufacturing site located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. The VMIC facility is due to open in mid-2021, a year ahead of schedule.
The agreement also provides a framework for a longer-term partnership between Oxford Biomedica and VMIC, whereby Oxford Biomedica could rapidly provide its commercial scale manufacturing capacity to supply other novel viral vector vaccine candidates for the UK population when needed.
John Dawson, chief executive officer of Oxford Biomedica, said: “Since we became involved in addressing the urgent need for UK manufacturing capacity for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222, we have strived to support VMIC’s broader goal of accelerating and supporting UK manufacturing capacity and capabilities for vaccines more generally. This highly collaborative partnership allows for a rapid deployment capability to be established, and also accelerates fit-out and utilisation of another two GMP manufacturing suites within our new commercial manufacturing facility, Oxbox.”
Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, concluded: “The government is backing the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre as a crucial part of securing long-term vaccine manufacturing capability in the UK. Viral vector Covid-19 vaccine candidates are showing significant promise. This new partnership between VMIC and Oxford Biomedica marks a major milestone in increasing the UK manufacturing capacity of viral vector vaccines and will specifically help ensure that we have the right skills in place to manufacture a vaccine as soon as one is available.”