IChemE identifies vaccine production capabilities

Article by Adam Duckett

ICHEME has compiled a list of manufacturing sites in the UK and Ireland that have the potential capability to manufacture treatments for Covid-19, and is offering to share the information with those who need it.

The list includes a breakdown of some 35 sites in the UK and 33 in Ireland, detailing their locations and their production capabilities, including for vaccines, biologics, small molecules and contract fill/finish.

The study has been undertaken by volunteers who have formed IChemE’s Covid-19 Response Team along with partners at the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering UK Affiliate. In a statement issued today, IChemE recognised the crucial work of those developing vaccines to fight Covid-19 but warned it is equally important to focus on the engineering required behind the scenes to be able to deliver billions of doses of vaccines to the wider global population.

Keith Plumb, IChemE Trustee and member of the IChemE Covid-19 Response Team, said: “It is understandable that much emphasis is put on developing the vaccine itself, but it is vital to look beyond the excellent scientific work being carried out in laboratories to the practical engineering issues required for full-scale manufacture. Our goal is to avoid the scenario of having proven vaccines available but nowhere to manufacture them at scale.”

To achieve these volumes, the formulated vaccine developed in the laboratory needs to be scaled up, which can be a complex process. The industrial-scale manufacturing process required to do this needs to be validated based on learnings from the processes and cleaning tests carried out during clinical trials, plus it needs to meet regulatory safety requirements. This requires a huge amount of scientific and engineering input along with further work on the sterile vial filling as well as the logistics of getting the product to the patient.

IChemE noted that chemical, biochemical and process engineers are responsible for transferring small-scale research products to large-scale manufacture, and help devise processes that consistently deliver consistent and pure products, design effective production systems and advise on optimum technologies to achieve efficient production.

Companies that want access to the information compiled by the IChemE Covid-19 Response Team should email covid@icheme.org

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.