LCR wins Government status for vaccine discovery, development and manufacturing

Colin Webb, Operations Director, Cashplus

The Department for International Trade and Growth Platform to showcase the Liverpool City Region’s life sciences expertise at this year’s World Vaccine Congress in Barcelona. 

Growth Platform, Liverpool City Regions Growth Company and the Department for International Trade (DIT) have launched a new Vaccines Discovery, Development and Manufacture High Potential Opportunity (HPO) in recognition of the Liverpool City Region’s internationally significant expertise in the discovery, development and manufacture of vaccines.  

The HPO programme aims to help accelerate the growth of business and industry, boost local job creation and prosperity, and strengthen the UK’s sectorial advantage. The Liverpool City Region’s vaccines capabilities will be promoted to targeted DIT teams located in British Embassies and Consulates across the world to highlight the compelling reasons why overseas vaccines companies should choose the City Region as they expand their international activities.

DIT and Growth Platform, will jointly promote the City Region’s world class assets and opportunities for investment in Vaccine discovery, development and manufacture at the World Vaccine Congress in Barcelona on October 11-14.

The Liverpool City Region is already one of the world’s fastest-growing centres of excellence in infectious diseases research and development, with expertise from vaccine discovery and clinical trials to manufacturing and logistics. As one of Europe’s largest and longest established concentrations of bio-manufacturing, it boasts the long-term presence of global life sciences leaders including Astra Zeneca, Seqirus, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pharmaron, TriRx, and Teva.

This private sector activity is complemented by world class academic and research institutions including the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and the University of Liverpool (UoL), which together constitute the UK’s largest concentration of expertise in translational-focused R&D in infectious diseases.  

In September 2020, the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON) was founded by a number of leading health, science and innovation organisations including LSTM, the NHS, and Unilever to name just a few. The major public-private collaboration was created to fast-track the discovery, development, evaluation and impact assessment of potential new products and treatments for infectious diseases and to strengthen the global supply chain. iiCON is currently collaborating with 64 local companies, with a further 120 businesses within its network, and has helped secure £200 million of funding for innovation related to infection control.

The High Potential Opportunity status was secured through a competitive bidding process led by Growth Platform, which provides business with one point of access to dedicated support and guidance on growth, investment and collaboration opportunities in the area.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“I’m incredibly proud of our area’s contribution to global health – few places can claim to have made a bigger impact on infection control as we can.

“But as we look to the future, I want to go even further, putting our region at the vanguard of UK – and global – innovation. We start that journey at a significant advantage: our existing, world-leading industry strengths in infectious disease control to materials chemistry innovation, and artificial intelligence. 

“I want to harness those strengths – and potential – and turn them into profitable businesses, creating better, greener jobs and bringing greater prosperity to local people. To make that happen, we will be investing 5% of our GVA in research and development over the next few years – nearly double the government’s national targets.

“The new HPO is recognition of that enviable position as a global leader and I’m sure will help us to continue driving growth and innovation in the region’s R&D by attracting more jobs, investment and opportunities into the region.”

Anika Neill, Sector Lead for Health & Life Sciences at Growth Platform said:

“This recognition really puts the Liverpool City Region on the map as an area with huge potential for investment in the discovery, development and manufacture of vaccines. An example being the recent £500k investment from the Pandemic Institute to help Liverpool researchers tackle the growing threat of Monkeypox.

“The Liverpool City Region provides access to the people, skills and supply chains needed to ensure it’s the ideal base for vaccine discovery, development and manufacturing of vaccines and being identified as an area of high potential growth is a true testament to that.”

Professor Janet Hemingway CBE, founding director of iiCON and professor of tropical medicine at LSTM, said:

“There is a world-leading infectious disease R&D ecosystem within the Liverpool City Region that has offered iiCON access to all the tools we’ve needed to support the journey of new therapies and products from early-stage discovery through to manufacturing and deployment.

“Working collaboratively with like-minded organisations within the Liverpool City Region has been crucial in driving forward infection innovation which is ultimately improving and saving lives, which is at the heart of iiCON’s purpose.”

DIT’s High Potential Opportunities programme, launched in 2018, selects investment opportunities to promote to foreign investors, driving investment into the UK’s regions and nations. The HPO digital summary is now available via DIT’s Investment Atlas.