Oxford Biomedica and the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) have agreed a partnership for the manufacture of viral vector-based vaccines.
The deal represents the first industry partnership for VMIC, which is a non-profit organization set up to advance the UK’s vaccine development and manufacturing capability.
Both partners will work immediately on AstraZeneca’s adenovirus vector vaccine candidate, AZD122 – after the two organizations had previously aided early work conducted by the University of Oxford.
As part of the agreement, VMIC will acquire the manufacturing equipment necessary to equip two manufacturing suites. VMIC will then deliver the equipment to Oxford Biomedica’s commercial manufacturing center, Oxbox, where the latter company will produce the potential vaccine for AZ.
At present, AZ’s vaccine candidate is regarded as one of the most promising for use against the novel coronavirus. It is likely that the candidate is one of five selected by the US government for additional support and accelerated development.
AZ has partnered extensively to enable it to build the capacity for two billion doses of the vaccine candidate in 2021, with Oxford Biomedica being one such partner.
Oxford Biomedica confirmed that the suites will be used to scale the capacity for AZD1222, but also stated that they could also be utilized for additional viral vector vaccine candidates.
In return, the company will provide VMIC staff members training and technical assistance in the operation of a manufacturing facility producing vaccines.
The training will ready VMIC employees whilst the organization’s permanent facility is completed at the Harwell Campus, in Oxford. VMIC’s manufacturing plant is expected to be completed in mid-2021, after which it will be able to produce up to 70 million vaccine doses in four to six months.
In the longer term, the agreement ‘provides a framework’ for commercial scale manufacturing capacity for additional novel viral vector vaccine candidates for the UK population, ‘when needed’.