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The Government of UK has announced an investment of £100m ($127m) to scale up manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccine and gene therapy in the country.
The investment will support the new Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre for expediting the mass production of a successful Covid-19 vaccine.
Schedule to open in December next year, the Centre will have the capacity to manufacture millions of doses per month.
In Braintree, Essex, England, the investment will help upgrade an existing facility into a fully-licensed manufacturing centre. This is intended to boost the country’s capability to respond to diseases such as Covid-19, as well as any other future pandemics.
This will also create new jobs to support economic recovery.
The new centre will support the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), which is being built in Oxfordshire with a £93m government investment.
Following its completion next year, the facility will be equipped to generate enough vaccine doses to cater to the UK population at scale.
The government has also invested £38m to construct a rapid deployment facility, which will open in the coming months. The facility is intended to enable the broad availability of a successful vaccine to the public.
UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “We are taking all necessary steps to ensure we can vaccinate the public as soon as a successful Covid-19 vaccine becomes available.
“This new Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre, alongside crucial investment in skills, will support our efforts to rapidly produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine while ensuring the UK can respond quickly to potential future pandemics.”
The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult will also receive an additional £4.7m for new training facilities, as well as an online learning platform to enhance vaccine and cell and gene therapy skills.
This investment comes after the UK government signed an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech for the supply of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate.