UK agrees joint investment with Valneva to boost vaccine production
Topics: VALNEVA UK
A manufacturing facility in Livingston, West Lothian, will be at the heart of efforts to produce a new coronavirus vaccine thanks to a multi-million-pound joint investment as part of an agreement in principle by the UK government to secure early access to 60 million doses of Valneva’s promising vaccine candidate.
The joint investment, made between the UK government and global biotech company Valneva, will advance Scotland’s vaccine manufacturing capacity and support highly skilled jobs for scientists and technicians at the West Lothian site.
Currently more than 100 people are employed at the facility with a quarter of those working directly on a coronavirus vaccine. Researchers working on the vaccine’s manufacture are expected to grow in number by a further 75 as production gets underway.
If Valneva’s vaccine is proven to be safe and effective in clinical trials, the expanded Livingston facility could potentially supply up to 100 million vaccine doses to the UK and internationally.
The committed investment will be highlighted by UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma on a visit to Valneva’s facility in West Lothian today (Wednesday 5 August), ensuring the vaccine can be manufactured at scale to protect millions of people in priority groups, such as health and social care workers and those at increased health risk, across the United Kingdom if clinical trials are successful.
The Business Secretary will witness first-hand the ground-breaking work already taking place at the Livingston manufacturing facility and hear about the significant efforts being made to increase capacity at the site.
The Livingston facility is in addition to the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) which is currently under construction in Oxfordshire thanks to further investment from the UK government. When completed in summer 2021, the facility will have flexible capacity to manufacture millions of vaccine doses at scale.
The UK government has also reached an existing global licensing agreement signed with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to research, develop and manufacture 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for the British public, as well as a partnership with BioNTech and Pfizer for 30 million doses if their trials are successful.
And just last week, a deal was reached with GSK and Sanofi to secure 60 million doses of their vaccine candidate, further boosting the UK’s chances of receiving access to an effective immunisation.
A further £40 million government investment has been given to Imperial College London to develop their vaccine candidate, which is now being trialled with more than 200 people across 6 locations. ■