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MHRA approves second of two GMP manufacturing suites for COVID-19 vaccine candidate

The two suites, established with VMIC equipment and operated by Oxford Biomedica, will be operating at 1000-L scale.

The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) has announced today that the UK Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now approved the second of two GMP manufacturing suites that house VMIC’s specialist vaccines manufacturing equipment, resulting in two fully equipped, approved manufacturing suites to make a leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

As part of the national response to develop vaccine for COVID-19, the two suites established with VMIC equipment will be operating at 1000-L scale and will be dedicated to the manufacture of a leading COVID-19 viral vector vaccine candidate.

The suites, operated by Oxford Biomedica, are located in their commercial manufacturing centre, Oxbox, in Oxford, UK and are expected to be fully operational in October.

Supported by government funding through UK Research and Innovation, the collaboration between VMIC and Oxford Biomedica signed in June 2020 enabled the UK to establish a rapid deployment centre or ‘Virtual VMIC’ while the permanent VMIC facility was being built. The aim being to rapidly build capability in the UK to manufacture a vaccine for COVID-19 rather than wait until VMIC’s permanent facility opens in 2021.

Dr Matthew Duchars, Chief Executive, VMIC, said the suites will have the ability to make “tens of millions of doses” of the current leading vaccine candidate.

The permanent VMIC facility, due to open in 2021, will be located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, UK.

The facility will house specialist equipment drawing on both innovative and traditional technologies. It is envisaged that much of the work at the new facility will be collaborative ventures with organisations ranging from small and medium sized businesses, through to large multinationals and non-governmental organisations such as Wellcome and CEPI, thereby underpinning the activity and strength of the UK in the vaccine area.