The total cost of the centre will be £66m (€84m), with Janssen and MSD providing £10m of the funds alongside other partners.
The project itself will be coordinated by the Jenner Institute, a collaboration between the University of Oxford and the Pirbright Institute, with Imperial College London also involved in research. The centre, projected to be open in 2022, will be located in Oxford.
Focusing on developing and manufacturing vaccines for global distribution, the centre will be used to provide a supply of vaccines for the UK in the event of an epidemic.
In addition, the Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC) will be working on advanced therapeutics, such as personalised cancer vaccines and vectors for gene therapy.
UK business secretary, Greg Clark, said, “The government is investing in pioneering vaccine manufacturing as part of our modern Industrial Strategy to create more highly skilled jobs, place the NHS at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies and deliver the biggest increase in public investment in research and development in UK history.”
The investment comes as part of the Life Sciences Sector Deal announced by the UK government at the end of last year. The deal seeks to strengthen the life sciences sector in the UK, forging closer links between academia and industry.
“Only by working in common cause can we achieve the goal of pandemic preparedness. If we take action now, working together, we can prevent the pandemics of the future. We are delighted to support this vital mission,” commented Johan Van Hoof, MD of Janssen Vaccines, after his company supported the centre with investment. Van Hoof will join the VMIC’s governing board.