UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Dr Tarit Mukhopadhyay Awarded $17.67m From Gates Foundation

16 January 2017

UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering Receives £14m Grand Challenges funding for Innovation in Vaccine Manufacturing for Global Markets.

“Vaccines have already saved countless millions. Yet still people die from vaccine-preventable diseases because they are unaffordable. We want to change that. If we can create a generic manufacturing system, applicable to a wide range of vaccine, such that the cost per dose is no more than 15 cents, then we can change this. Vaccines will be far more accessible and affordable, irrespective of income.”

Dr. Tarit K. Mukhopadhyay, UCL Biochemical Engineering, November 2016

Dr. Tarit K. Mukhopadhyay, is leading an innovative global health research project to make next generation vaccine for less than 15¢ a dose. The project entitled Ultra-low cost, Transferable Automated Platform for Vaccine Manufacture (ULTRA),aims to create a generic, low-cost, manufacturing platform that standardizes the development and production of new recombinant protein vaccines for less than 15 cents a dose.

Vaccines are one of the most powerful and effective health interventions ever developed, providing tremendous economic and societal value in averted costs, productivity gains, and poverty reduction. One of the most significant factors limiting complete global immunization coverage, especially the cost to lower-income countries, is the cost of production. A substantial reduction in the cost of manufacturing vaccines could help enable affordable, equitable and sustainable immunization on a global scale, while also enabling manufacturers to develop sustainable business models around such products.

The team at UCL will be working with partners Prof. Christopher Love from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Prof. David Volkin from the University of Kansas (KU) and Indian vaccine manufacturer BiologicalE.

UCL, MIT and KU will work together to develop the vaccine strains, the integrated manufacturing process and the economic models to ensure that ULTRA achieves costs of less than 15¢ a dose. If successful, this process will be tested at scale by BiologicalE, who will generate clinical material for a Phase 1 trial at the end of this 5-year grant.

The UCL Biochemical Engineering team will be leading the grant and is comprised of Dr. Tarit Mukhopadhyay, along with colleagues, Prof. Suzy Farid and Prof. Daniel Bracewell. Dr. Mukhopadhyay, the main lead on the grant, is responsible for the process development of the rotavirus candidate. Prof. Farid will focus on the economic modelling of the manufacturing process while Prof. Bracewell will contribute his expertise in chromatographic purification of proteins.

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