Both Oxford Biomedica and VMIC are original members of the Oxford University manufacturing consortium focused on scaling-up the GMP manufacture of the adenovirus vector based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222 (previously known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), which has entered clinical trials at multiple sites in the UK. AstraZeneca has now taken over global responsibility for the manufacturing, development and distribution for AZD1222 with an initial clinical and commercial supply agreement for multiple batches signed between AstraZeneca and Oxford Biomedica on the May 28.
As part of the collaboration agreement, VMIC will provide manufacturing equipment for Oxford Biomedica to equip two new GMP manufacturing suites within Oxford Biomedica’s new 7,800 m2 commercial manufacturing center, Oxbox, located in Oxford, UK. This will provide significant additional manufacturing capacity and enable further scale up for AZD1222 from the summer of 2020 as needed to help supply UK and European vaccine demand. These suites could also potentially be utilized for other viral vector vaccine candidates. As part of the Agreement, Oxford Biomedica will provide training and technical assistance to VMIC staff to accelerate the operational readiness and GMP manufacturing capabilities for viral vector vaccine candidates at VMIC’s new manufacturing site located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. The VMIC facility is due to open in mid-2021, a year ahead of schedule.
Matthew Duchars, CEO of Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, commented, “This collaboration with Oxford Biomedica means that together we can significantly increase the UK’s capacity to manufacture viral vectors vaccines as part of a national effort in response to COVID-19. This marks a major milestone for VMIC in setting up collaborative partnerships with industry – this is the first collaboration agreement outside of our founding partners under VMIC’s longer term objective of boosting the UK’s vaccines manufacturing capability.”
The agreement also provides a framework for a longer-term partnership between Oxford Biomedica and VMIC, whereby Oxford Biomedica could rapidly provide its commercial scale manufacturing capacity to supply other novel viral vector vaccine candidates for the UK population, when needed.