UCL Engineering


Fifteen cents needed to save millions of lives

The quest for a next generation vaccine for less than 15¢ a dose.

A vaccination injection

14 February 2020

The aim of ULTRA (Ultra Low-cost Transferable Automated (ULTRA) Platform for Vaccine Manufacturing) is to make a next generation vaccine for less than 15¢ a dose with a 5 year £14m grant from The Gates Foundation.

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 project is led by Dr Tarit Mukhopadhyay with Prof. Suzy Farid and Prof. Daniel Bracewell at UCL Biochemical Engineering. They 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.

“Vaccines have already saved countless millions, yet still people die from vaccine-preventable diseases because they are unaffordable. We want to change that."

says Dr Mukhopadhyay.

"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.”

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