Serum Institute invests $68m in Oxford Biomedica to expand vector capacity

Oxford Biomedica will add 39,000 square feet of advanced manufacturing space at its Oxbox site in the UK following an investment from the Serum Institute of India.

The £50 million ($68 million) investment from Indian vaccine giant Serum Institute of India will be used to develop the fallow area at Oxford Biomedica’s ‘Oxbox’ viral vector manufacturing site in Oxford, UK. In return, Serum Institute of India – through its subsidiary Serum Life Sciences – will acquire a 3.9% stake in the viral vector supplier.

The firm constructed the 45,000 square-foot Oxbox facility in 2019, housing four GMP manufacturing suites, two fill-finish suites and auxiliary areas such as warehouses, cold chain facilities and QC laboratories.

Image c/o Oxford Biomedica

The expansion, set to come online mid-2023, will develop 39,000 square feet of space for manufacturing capacity for viral vector-based products, including vaccines.

120 skilled jobs will be created.

“This investment will allow us to expand capacity at Oxbox at a time when our business development pipeline has never looked stronger,” said John Dawson, CEO of Oxford Biomedica.

Dawson added the pandemic has brought both Oxford Biomedica and Serum Institute to the forefront of global healthcare. As well as being a contract manufacturer for Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, Serum Institute partnered with AstraZeneca to codevelop and make the COVISHIELD vaccine from its facilities in Pune, India, which claims to be the world’s largest vaccine production site making around 1.5 billion doses of vaccines each year.

Oxford Biomedica, meanwhile, was contracted by AstraZeneca to help produce its adenovirus vector-based COVID-19 vaccine, initially for trials but now three of the four suites at Oxbox are dedicated to producing COVID-19 vaccine at 1000 L scale.

The news comes in a busy week for Serum Institute. The firm took a 15% stake, worth $4.9 billion, in fellow Indian drugmaker Biocon last Friday as part of a strategic vaccine and antibody manufacturing alliance.