A ‘project of national importance’
BES, the specialist in design and construction of advanced environments for the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, has been appointed to fit out the new Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC) at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.
The new facility is being fast-tracked for early completion in 2021 due to COVID-19. A not-for-profit organisation established to provide the UK’s first strategic vaccine development and advanced manufacturing capability, VMIC has taken a leading role in advising Government teams on vaccines manufacturing in response to COVID-19. Its new 7,400 m2 specialist manufacturing centre will enable vaccine developers to refine their processes, prepare vaccines for clinical trials, and scale-up for mass production in the event of any future public health emergencies.
This Government-funded project was already planned prior to the pandemic, with completion originally scheduled for 2022. The urgent need to produce vaccines at scale to fight future pandemics has prompted the project handover to be moved forward by 12 months.
A Government grant of £93million was awarded to VMIC in May 2020 to fast-track the build and expand its manufacturing capacity. The highly specialist facility will form a key element of the Government’s future pandemic response and, when completed, will be capable of producing 70 million pandemic vaccine doses in just 4-6 months.
With over 18 years’ experience delivering complex pharmaceutical environments, BES will leverage the expertise of its multidisciplinary team to provide design coordination and internal fit-out of pre-clinical development laboratories, vaccine manufacturing suites, cold storage, and filling areas. Working collaboratively with principal contractor, Glencar Construction, BES will provide integrated process, architectural, and mechanical and electrical services, to meet the challenging programme.
Steve Marsh, managing director of BES commented: “Effective vaccines play an important role in public health, and the new VMIC facilities will enable the UK to respond quickly to new health risks, including pandemics, by enabling large scale production of vaccines for both clinical use and emergency response.”
COO of VMIC, Chris Lucas, said: “Delivering the VMIC facility during a pandemic is challenging, and the need to fast-track the project by a year has resulted in a level of complexity unparalleled in construction. With its level of expertise, BES will form an important part of the collaborative group delivering this project of national importance.”