Catalent wins bidding war to take on UK VMIC – Endpoints News

When a British government source spoke to the FinancialTimes Last December when discussing the potential sale of a ready-to-use vaccine manufacturing site, one thing was clear: the stakeholders wanted to sell it to “someone who knows how to make it work.” Four months later, it looks like Catalent is that someone.

A biologics manufacturing and development center already under construction in the UK is now owned by Catalent and will get a Additional Investment of $160 million.

The CDMO announced the news on Wednesday morning. Catalent has purchased the Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Center site, UK, to complete construction and add state-of-the-art capabilities for mRNA, protein and other advanced modalities. The site will employ over 400 people when completed.

Because the site is close to Oxford University, Catalent will be able to collaborate with scientists and students from the nearby university, President Mike Riley said in a statement.

“Our priority is to complete construction as soon as possible so that we can begin customer programs in 2022,” he said. “We will then integrate its capabilities within our existing network of biological facilities across Europe to offer a flexible range of manufacturing, technology and development solutions for the pipeline of thousands of development programs currently underway.”

A few different companies submitted bids for the site in December. Oxford BioMedica, Lonza and Fujifilm Diosynth were all in, according to the original Financial Times report, and the site had already received over £200m in public funding throughout the pandemic. But as the demand for vaccines declined, so did the demand for a state-backed manufacturing facility.

The agreement will allow the site to continue to build UK vaccine manufacturing capabilities. VMIC was originally set up as a not-for-profit organization by Oxford, Imperial College, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines with help from J&J and Merck. Ebola and Lassa fever were among the deadly diseases treated first. Then, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the site in 2020, he met scientists and engineers to discuss the possibility of producing 70 million doses of the vaccine in four to six months.

“Catalent has the resources to ensure this facility can become operational and begin to contribute quickly to the vaccine landscape in the UK and Europe,” said Robin Shattock, professor at Imperial College London and chairman of the board. administration of the VMIC. “At Catalent, we found a new owner who shared the vision of what we wanted to accomplish and who safeguarded the interests of the workforce.”

The center has been a huge help throughout the pandemic so far, as Oxford vaccine researcher Sandy Douglas said the university’s vaccine, produced in collaboration with AstraZeneca, had seen its schedule accelerated by several months, thanks to the site.

Laura J. Boyer