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Cancer: Drugs

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL12873, tabled on 1 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for greater UK manufacturing capacity of monoclonal antibodies; and what steps they intend to take to secure such capacity.

Answered on

15 February 2021

Currently the UK does not have the capability or scale to manufacture bulk levels of antibodies; the Vaccine Taskforce has identified this as a potential weakness in the UK’s future pandemic response.

As a result, the Government issued a Prior Information Notice in October 2020 to engage with the market to explore how UK antibody manufacturing capability can be developed to secure permanent UK access and build resilience. The findings from the market engagement exercise, and the wider landscape of the pandemic, has resulted in the need for a broader strategic review of the role that biologics manufacturing could play in pandemic responsiveness and resilience.

The Government has also invested £127 million in the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Braintree, which as well as vaccine drug substance manufacture, has the capability for antibody scale-up and clinical scale production of neutralising antibodies for prophylactic and therapeutic treatment.