WHP completes viral vector manufacturing centre for Oxford Biomedica


The centre is being used for the worldwide manufacture and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca

Multi-disciplinary engineering company WHP has completed the design and build of a new viral vector manufacturing centre for Oxford Biomedica. The new GMP facility is suitable for manufacturing viral vectored vaccines and gene therapy vectors up to 1,000 litre scale and will be used for the large-scale manufacture of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The facility is established in a former Royal Mail sorting office in Oxford. Phase 1 of the expansion comprised the highly specialist conversion of the building into four GMP cleanroom suites and fill and finish production areas, as well as offices, warehousing and quality-controlled laboratories.

WHP were responsible for the detailed design and build, including testing and commissioning which encompasses WHP's full integrated skillset. The design included a full 3D BIM model, including cleanroom architecture, HVAC, M&E and process and critical utilities systems.

Oxford Biomedica signed a collaborative agreement with the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) earlier this year. VMIC will be the UK's first dedicated Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre and will be utilised by UK authorities to manufacture vaccines rapidly in the event of a future pandemic such as COVID-19 hitting the UK. VMIC will develop novel innovative manufacturing processes and carry out vaccine manufacturing at a variety of scales. The agreement involves the organisations working collaboratively to rapidly increase the UK's capacity for the manufacture of viral vector based vaccines.

The contract to design the UK's first dedicated VMIC was awarded to WHP in 2019. WHP completed RIBA Plan of Work 4 utilising 3D BIM modelling to finalise the cleanroom architecture, M&E components, and process and critical utilities systems.

Both Oxford Biomedica and VMIC are members of the Oxford University manufacturing consortium focused on scaling-up the GMP manufacture of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Oxford Biomedica recently signed a supply agreement with AstraZeneca who are responsible for the development and worldwide manufacture and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Oxford

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Biomedica will reserve capacity for AstraZeneca in up to three manufacturing suites in the new 7,800 sqm commercial manufacturing centre. Oxford Biomedica's collaborative partnership with VMIC, who has supplied equipment to Oxford Biomedica, has allowed for 2 manufacturing suites to become operational earlier than planned to meet the demands of this supply agreement.