Croda to expand UK lipids output for vaccine production

Article by Adam Duckett

CRODA has been awarded £15.9m (US$20.8m) by the UK Government to increase the output of its plant in Leek that manufactures lipids used in Covid-19 vaccines.

The specialty chemicals company will use the funding to build what it describes as a state-of-the-art lipid system synthesis facility. The investment will expand the range of lipids that can be produced by the site and production capacity. The expanded site will be able to produce enough lipids for 3bn vaccine doses per year. Croda declined to confirm its existing production capacity figures.

Lipid nanoparticles are used to enclose mRNA vaccines such as those developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna for Covid-19. The lipid protects the mRNA from degrading as it moves through the body enabling it to reach cells and help trigger an immune response.

Croda is the only manufacturer of lipids currently operating in the country, said UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who noted the investment helps strengthen domestic manufacturing supply chains.

“Not only will this funding provide a significant boost to Britain’s life sciences industry, enabling the production of an extra 3bn vaccine doses domestically, but it also represents an important investment into the West Midlands’ economy as we work to onshore manufacturing to the UK.”

Croda said the use of lipid systems is expected to expand as new treatments RNA-based drugs are developed and launched including for flu vaccines and cancer treatments.

Daniele Piergentili, President of Croda Life Sciences, said: “This investment will meaningfully enhance our lipid system capability and manufacturing capacity, ensuring that Croda plays a central role in both the development and future supply of this important delivery technology.”

Article by Adam Duckett

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