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  • Institute to Tackle Global Disease Threats

Institute to Tackle Global Disease Threats

Jan 26 2019 Read 552 Times

A pioneering UK vaccine centre announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark in December, will help keep the UK’s Life Sciences industry at the forefront of worldwide efforts to tackle deadly diseases such as Ebola and Lassa Fever. Through its modern industrial strategy, the government is investing £66m in the Centre through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which will help boost the growth of the UK’s £70 billion life sciences industry. To be based in Oxford, the Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre will create more than 50 jobs in the local area and is expected to open in 2022 with the first products from the centre also available later that year.

Public Health Minister Steve Brine said: It is no exaggeration to say that vaccines are a modern marvel and their introduction catapulted our healthcare system years ahead. Just this year we celebrated 50 years on from the introduction of the measles vaccine, which has potentially averted 20 million measles cases and 4,500 deaths.

While all vaccines save millions of lives around the world every year, we cannot get complacent. There are still too many debilitating diseases that take thousands of lives each year – but through investments like this we can strengthen our efforts and stop more diseases in their tracks”.

Led by the Jenner Institute, a partnership between the University of Oxford and the Pirbright Institute, additional funding of £10 million will come from commercial and other partners, including Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. and Merck Sharp and Dohme. The centre will be further supported by expertise and training from GE Healthcare.

Jenner Institute Director, Professor Adrian Hill, said: “This is an exceptional opportunity for the UK to lead in the provision of vaccines against a wide range of outbreak pathogens which threaten to cause major epidemics. The lack of commercial incentive to develop these has now led to this exceptional partnership of major academic and industrial players in the vaccine field, to accelerate a range of vaccines towards large-scale manufacture and stockpile provision for vulnerable populations.”

In parallel, the Centre will develop innovative manufacturing technologies with UK companies and universities to support the next generation of life-saving preventive and therapeutic vaccines.

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