UK Prime Minister visits site of UK’s forthcoming Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the construction site of the rapidly developing UK’s Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC).
PM Boris Johnson visit VMIC. Credit: Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street

VMIC, a not-for-profit organisation will provide the UK’s first strategic vaccine development and advanced manufacturing capability that will accelerate vaccines development in the UK and also provide national emergency response for future pandemics.

VMIC was established by the University of Oxford, Imperial College and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with support from industrial partners, MSD, Johnson and Johnson and Cytiva.

The Prime Minister met with teams working at the forefront of the national response to COVID-19  – ranging from scientists and engineers advising on scaling up manufacturing of viable COVID-19 vaccines and establishing a rapid deployment centre, known as ‘Virtual VMIC’ to increase supply of the Oxford/AZ vaccine, which is currently in clinical trials to ensure its safety and effectiveness.

He also met with design and construction teams fast tracking the development of the 7,400 sq m facility and who are working in an unprecedented effort to bring the high-tech centre online a year ahead of schedule.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Brilliant scientists in Oxfordshire and around the UK are driving global efforts to develop a safe vaccine that works to defeat coronavirus. If one proves successful, we need to be ready to distribute it to the British people as soon as possible.

“That is why construction of the Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre at Harwell, backed by £158million from the Government, is fully underway in Oxfordshire. When open, VMIC will be able to manufacture enough vaccine doses for the whole UK population in as little as six months, which would transform how we beat this virus and prepare for future pandemics.”

Matt Lee, Chief Operating Officer at LSHTM, said: “It is wonderful that the Prime Minister was able to visit the VMIC site and hear about some of the incredibly vital work being carried out by all involved, especially in the light of COVID-19. It is crucial that we have the infrastructure to respond to pandemics, both in the UK and globally, as well as developing and manufacturing vaccines for other diseases.”

VMIC’s initial funding came from a £65 million grant from UK Research and Innovation, as part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, with a further £93 million in 2020 to expand the facility’s capabilities and fast track the build.

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