The UK based gene and cell therapy group announced that it has signed a collaboration agreement on June 8 with the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) to provide the UK’s first strategic vaccine development and advanced manufacturing capability.
According to Oxford Biomedica, the five-year agreement 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. As part of the agreement, VMIC is to provide manufacturing equipment for Oxford Biomedica to rapidly equip two new GMP manufacturing suites within Oxford Biomedica’s new 7,800 sq m 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.
Oxford Biomedica is also to 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. 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.
Both Oxford Biomedica and VMIC are original members of the Oxford University manufacturing consortium focussed on scaling-up the GMP manufacture of the adenovirus vector based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, previously known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, which is reported to have 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 on May 28.