The Oxford Science Park (TOSP) has secured a key life sciences signing with the UK’s first dedicated Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC) set to be based at the park.

Oxford Science Park

Oxford Science Park will now expand further with the creation of the UK’s first-ever vaccines innovation centre

Source: Nigel Cox/Oxford Science Park/CC BY-SA

As part of a project to address the UK’s gap in late-stage vaccine manufacturing process development, the VIMC will take a new plot at the park close to the Magdalen Centre to build a £66m purpose-built facility. The University of Oxford, Imperial College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have established VMIC-UK to run the centre with backing from pharmaceutical groups Janssen and Merck and medical manufacturer GE Healthcare.

The £66m facility is expected to open in Spring 2022 and will support the development and manufacture of vaccines for clinical trials and at moderate scale for emergency preparedness for epidemic threats. The centre’s main grant funding comes through UK Research and Innovation, as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

It is expected that the creation of the centre will provide strong collaboration opportunities with TOSP’s 50 life sciences occupiers working in infectious diseases and oncology including the manufacture of personalised cancer vaccines and vectors for gene therapy. Magdalen College paid M&G Real Estate £18.1m to gain complete control of The Oxford Science Park in 2016 and has since expanded its focus on life science lettings.

Piers Scrimshaw-Wright, managing director of The Oxford Science Park, said: “The Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre will be a major part of the UK life sciences research and manufacturing infrastructure, and we are delighted that it will be located here. Building on Oxford’s reputation as a centre of excellence in vaccines research, this multi-party initiative provides a significant boost to the collaborative ethos here. As well as providing local jobs, it complements TOSP’s long-term commitment to science, innovation and entrepreneurship in Oxford, and we look forward to working with the VMIC team on its development.”

Professor Robin Shattock, chair of the board of directors of the VMIC, added: “This centre represents a major opportunity for UK vaccine research and development, and will ensure manufacturing capacity to respond to epidemic threats to the UK population.”