Catalent acquires U.K. Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre to expand biologics

Biopharma leader Catalent acquired the Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, also known as VMIC Ltd., which is currently under construction near Oxford, U.K., according to a Wednesday announcement.

According to a news release, Catalent plans to invest up to $160 million to complete the building and equip it with state-of-the-art capabilities for the development and manufacture of biologic therapies and vaccines, including mRNA, proteins and other advanced modalities.

It is expected that the new facility will employ more than 400 people and support public and private organizations seeking to develop and manufacture biotherapeutics.

In early 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the U.K. government’s Vaccine Taskforce invested around $270 million into a facility aimed at addressing the country’s lack of vaccine manufacturing capacity.

The 74,000-square-foot VMIC, which is approximately 50 miles west of London, had been expected to offer up to 70 million doses of pandemic vaccine, deliverable within a six-month response time from 2022, but the facility never opened its doors.

“This acquisition allows Catalent to collaborate with the rich academic and biomedical science community centered around Oxford, with its world-class talent, and will result in a facility that provides opportunities to transform innovation into real treatments for patients across the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond,” said Mike Riley, president of Catalent Biotherapeutics.

Catalent, with its headquarters in Somerset, has a longstanding presence in the U.K., where its workforce already exceeds 1,300 people at its four facilities focused on development and manufacturing of oral dose forms, located in Nottingham, Swindon, Haverhill and Dartford, in addition to a clinical trial supply site in Bathgate, Scotland.