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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R013756/1
Title: The Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub (Vax-Hub)
Principal Investigator: Micheletti, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Bracewell, Professor DG Russell, Professor S Tronci, Professor G
Gilbert, Professor SC Frank, Dr S Wren, Professor B
Guillen-Gosalbez, Dr G
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Activirosomes Ltd AstraZeneca BIA Separations
BioLogicB, LLC Centre for Process Innovation Limited DCVMN
FUJIFILM UK Ltd GE (General Electric Company) hVIVO
iQur Ltd Merck KGaA Pall Europe Ltd
Pfizer ProBioMed Prokarium Ltd
Public Health England Sanofi (International) UK BioIndustry Association (BIA)
University of Oxford Vironova
Department: Biochemical Engineering
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2018 Ends: 01 September 2023 Value (£): 10,031,142
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design of Process systems Macro-molecular delivery
Manufact. Business Strategy Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
Protein engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Sep 2017 Future Vaccines Manufacturing Hub Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Vaccines are the most successful public health initiative of the 20th century. They save millions of lives annually, add billions to the global economy and extended life expectancy by an average of 30 years. Even so, the UN estimates that globally 6 million children each year die before their 5th birthday. While vaccines do exist to prevent these deaths, it is limitations in manufacturing capacity, technology, costs and logistics that prevent us for reaching the most vulnerable. The UK is a world leader in vaccine research and has played a significant leadership role in several public health emergencies, most notably the Swine Flu pandemic in 2009 and the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. While major investment has been made into early vaccine discovery - this has not been matched in the manufacturing sciences or capacity. Consequently, leading UK scientists are forced to turn overseas to commercialise their products.

Therefore, this investment into The Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub will enable our vision to make the UK the global centre for vaccine discovery, development and manufacture. We will create a vaccine manufacturing hub that brings together a world-class multidisciplinary team with decades of cumulative experience in all aspects of vaccine design and manufacturing research. This Hub will bring academia, industry and policy makers together to propose radical change in vaccine development and manufacturing technologies, such that the outputs are suitable for Low and Middle Income Countries.

The vaccine manufacturing challenges faced by the industry are to (i) decrease time to market, (ii) guarantee long lasting supply - especially of older, legacy vaccine, (iii) reduce the risk of failure in moving between different vaccine types, scales of manufacture and locations, (iv) mitigating costs and (v) responding to threats and future epidemics or pandemics. This work is further complicated as there is no generic vaccine type or manufacturing approach suitable for all diseases and scenarios. Therefore this manufacturing Hub will research generic tools and technologies that are widely applicable to a range of existing and future vaccines.

The work will focus on two main research themes (A) Tools and Technologies to de-risk scale-up and enable rapid response, and (B) Economic and Operational Tools for uninterrupted, low cost supply of vaccines. The first research theme seeks to create devices that can predict if a vaccine can be scaled-up for commercial manufacture before committing resources for development. It will include funds to study highly efficient purification systems, to drive costs down and use genetic tools to increase vaccine titres. Work in novel thermo-stable formulations will minimise vaccine wastage and ensure that vaccines survive the distribution chain. The second research theme will aim to demystify the economics of vaccine development and distribution and allow the identification of critical cost bottlenecks to drive research priorities. It will also assess the impact of the advances made in the first research theme to ensure that the final cost of the vaccine is suitable for the developing world.

The Hub will be a boon for the UK, as this research into generic tools and technologies will be applicable for medical products intended for the UK and ensure that prices remain accessible for the NHS. It will establish the UK as the international centre for end-to-end vaccine research and manufacture. Additionally, vaccines should be considered a national security priority, as diseases do not respect international boundaries, thus this work into capacity building and rapid response is a significant advantage.

The impact of this Hub will be felt internationally, as the UK reaffirms its leadership in Global Health and works to ensure that the outputs of this Hub reach the most vulnerable, especially children.
Key Findings
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