A new vaccines research centre is to be built at Oxford University after funding of £50 million was secured.

The Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building will be built at the Oxford University Pandemic Sciences Centre at the Old Road Campus.

Serum Life Sciences, which is owned by the Poonawalla family, owners of the Serum Institute of India, will provide the funds. The institute supports the development of affordable vaccines to low and middle income countries.

The new building will house more than 300 research scientists and will be the head offices and main laboratory space of the Jenner Institute.

Prof Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of the university, said: ‘The university has longstanding ties with the Poonawalla family and we were delighted to confer an honorary degree on Cyrus Poonawalla in Summer 2019 in recognition of his extraordinary work manufacturing inexpensive vaccines for the developing world.

“I am delighted that through this generous gift we will be able to further our work on vaccines which have proven so critical to global health. We will also ensure that we are never again caught unprepared for a global pandemic.”

Prof Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, said. ‘The striking success of the collaborative programmes on both the malaria and Covid-19 vaccines between the Serum Institute of India and Oxford University has highlighted the great potential of partnerships between leading universities and large-scale manufacturers to develop and supply vaccines for very cost-effective deployment at exceptional scale.

“We look forward to a wider range of vaccine activities in the future building on this generous support from the Poonawalla family.”

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