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Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL12874, tabled on 1 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to undertake a strategic review of the role biologics manufacturing could play in pandemic responsiveness and resilience.

Answered on

15 February 2021

Currently the UK does not have the capability or scale to manufacture bulk levels of antibodies; the Vaccine Taskforce 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 invested over £300 million to secure and scale-up the UK’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities to be able to respond to the pandemic. This includes:

a) Facilities that have come online:

  • £4.7 million for skills training through the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network, which will be delivered through both virtual and physical centres;
  • £8.75 million for the set-up of the rapid deployment facility at Oxford Biomedica in Oxfordshire;
  • £65.5 million for the early manufacture of the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine; and
  • Funding for fill and finish through a contract with Wockhardt in Wrexham, North Wales which is currently providing fill and finish capabilities to the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.

b) Facilities that will come online later this year, to help provide longer term UK capacity and will help in pandemic preparedness:

  • £93 million to accelerate the completion and expanded role of the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire; and
  • £127 million for the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Braintree in Essex.

In addition to the above, we have also funded the expansion of the Valneva factory in Livingston, Scotland.