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8 Jun 2020

Oxford Biomedica and VMIC seal UK vaccine manufacturing capacity deal

The collaboration will significantly increase the UK’s capacity to manufacture viral vectors vaccines as part of a national effort in response to COVID-19.

Cell and gene therapy-focused CDMO Oxford Biomedica has signed a five-year collaboration agreement with the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) for the manufacture of viral vector based vaccines, including AstraZeneca’s adenovirus vector based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222.

Under the terms of the agreement, VMIC will provide manufacturing equipment for Oxford Biomedica to equip two new GMP manufacturing suites within Oxford Biomedica’s new 7,800 m2 commercial manufacturing centre, Oxbox, located in Oxford, UK.

This will provide significant additional manufacturing capacity and enable further scale-up for AZD1222 from the summer of 2020, as needed, to help supply UK and European vaccine demand. These suites could also be used for other viral vector vaccine candidates.

Oxford Biomedica will provide training and technical assistance to VMIC staff to accelerate the operational readiness and GMP manufacturing capabilities for viral vector vaccine candidates at VMIC’s new manufacturing site located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, 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.

Viral vector COVID-19 vaccine candidates are showing promise. According to Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, this new partnership between VMIC and Oxford Biomedica “will specifically help ensure that we have the right skills in place to manufacture a vaccine as soon as one is available”.

VMIC and Oxford Biomedica are original members of the Oxford University manufacturing consortium focussed on scaling-up the GMP manufacture of 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.

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