Pictured: Emilia Reyes Pabon, Technician Scientist Apprentice at the Clinical BioManufacturing Facility and winner of both Advanced Apprentice of the Year and joint overall Apprentice of the Year at the 2021 Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards.
Confirmation of funding to support a leading vaccine manufacturing facility – one of several schemes to have benefitted from government funding secured by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) – has today (Thursday 30 September) been announced.
The University of Oxford’s Clinical BioManufacturing Facility (CBF) is a UK leader in the production of vaccines for early phase clinical trials, including the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to combat the COVID-19 virus.
The enabling works will see the refurbishment of the facility’s cleanroom and storage facilities, as well as enabling works in support of future expansion.
The further expansion will include the creation of additional clean rooms, providing space to deliver up to 10 clinical grade products (gene therapies, vaccines, biologics) to trial per year. This creates the potential to increase the UK's share of the global vaccine and biologics manufacturing market (worth over $1bn).
The funding comes as part of the government’s Getting Building Fund, which aims to help kick-start the UK economy following the emergence of the Coronavirus.
OxLEP – working with the University of Oxford – secured £200,000 of funding for the Clinical BioManufacturing Facility via the Getting Building Fund, with the total cost of the project being £250,000.
Working alongside private and public sector partners from across the county – in the summer of 2020 – OxLEP secured a total of £8.4million-worth of investment for Oxfordshire, giving businesses and communities an all-important boost following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Since its launch in 2011, OxLEP has secured around £660m-worth of central government and European funds for the Oxfordshire economy, supporting the creation of around 65,000 new jobs between 2011 and 2019 – representing over two-thirds of a 2031 target of 85,600 new jobs.
In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for the county.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “Following the critical and global role the Oxfordshire life sciences sector has played over the past 18 months following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, this announcement is extremely positive news.
“As the Local Enterprise Partnership for Oxfordshire, we continue to play a vitally important role for the county, securing investment that enables new opportunities that will benefit the county’s businesses and communities for many years to come.
“We remain determined to play a key role in ensuring that the county’s businesses are able to run as efficiently as possible and remain productive both during the pandemic and beyond – this project will further support this ambition.”
Prof. Catherine Green – Head of the Clinical BioManufacturing Facility – said: “We are very grateful for this investment which will safeguard our facility’s future by a programme of refurbishment, and enabling works for a longer-term programme of expansion. We are committed to ensuring that Oxfordshire remains at the forefront of the UK’s development of innovative medicinal products.”
Oxfordshire’s Getting Building Fund investment will also support a number of emerging clean energy projects in the county, creating hundreds of new jobs in the process.
Getting Building Fund projects also recognise the possible ‘changing face’ of work patterns in Oxfordshire, supporting businesses to be more agile in-light of COVID-19.
Collectively, Oxfordshire-focused schemes supported by the Getting Building Fund are set to lead to the creation of 472 new jobs – as well as an additional 43 construction-focused roles – with the fund also ready to safeguard a further 324 jobs.