New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company Catalent has acquired the Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), currently under construction at Harwell.

Catalent plans to invest up to £120 million to complete and equip the building which will employ more than 400 people and support public and private organisations seeking to develop and manufacture biotherapeutics.

Mike Riley, president of Catalent Biotherapeutics, said: “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.

 “Our priority is to complete construction as soon as possible to be able to commence customer programs in 2022. We will then integrate its capabilities within our existing network of biologics facilities across Europe to offer a flexible range of manufacturing, technology, and development solutions for the pipeline of thousands of development programs currently underway.”

Professor Robin Shattock, head of the board of directors of VMIC, said: “This deal ensures the VMIC site, when completed, will stay true to the original purpose of strengthening the UK’s vaccine manufacturing capability by bringing innovation to the sector and getting more vaccines to the clinic.”

“Catalent has the resources to ensure this facility can become operational and start contributing to the UK’s and Europe’s vaccines landscape at pace. I would like to recognise employees at VMIC for their passion and commitment during the pandemic and the success that their work brought to the UK.

“In Catalent, we’ve found a new owner who shares the vision for what we wanted to achieve and has safeguarded the interests of the workforce.”

Catalent already employs 1,300 in the UK including at Nottingham, Swindon, Haverhill, and Dartford.

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