Sustainable Development Goals


A partnership will provide a global centre for next-generation vaccines

Biochemical engineers at UCL have joined forces with vaccinologists to provide a hub of skills and innovation to accelerate the development and manufacture of a low-cost supply of vaccines for all.

SDG Case study G3.8-vaxhub-micheletti

8 October 2020

The UN estimates that globally six million children each year die before their fifth birthday from diseases that are preventable with vaccination.  

The Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub (Vax-Hub) capitalises on new developments in genetics, cell biology, engineering fundamentals and manufacturing technologies to accelerate the development of affordable vaccines for large-scale manufacture, and ensure the vaccines quickly reach those who need them most.  

“In recent years we have seen remarkable advances in synthetic biology and cell engineering. We must continue to innovate and develop suitable manufacturing platforms to exploit those advances and ensure everyone has access to effective vaccines,” says Professor Martina Micheletti (UCL Biochemical Engineering). 

The Vax-Hub partnership is a ‘hub and spokes’ model, with two ‘hubs’ – led by Professor Micheletti (UCL Biochemical Engineering) and Professor Sarah Gilbert (Jenner Institute, University of Oxford) -supported by ‘spoke’ institutions,  small and large bioprocessing companies sector and international organisations.  

“We must continue to innovate and develop suitable manufacturing platforms to exploit those advances and ensure everyone has access to effective vaccines.” 

The cross-disciplinary team is devising tools and technologies to scale-up and provide a rapid, low-cost supply of vaccines. It also supports new technology platforms by providing funding for feasibility studies and knowledge transfer activities, both in the UK and internationally. 

For example, Vax-Hub is working with Professor Brendan Wren at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who has developed a new vaccine platform technology to produce a cheaper vaccine against bacterial meningitis and pneumonia. The Vax-Hub is developing a scalable manufacturing process for novel vaccine candidates that meet international standards and are expected to enter clinical trials in the near future.   

“The Hub brings together academia, industry and policymakers to propose radical change in vaccine development and manufacturing technologies and ensure vaccines are suitable for, and technologies translated to, low- and middle-income countries and manufacturers,” explains Professor Micheletti. 

“We want to overcome the traditional inefficiencies that occur when vaccines are manufactured, so that effective vaccines can be manufactured quickly and reach those who need them most.” she adds. 

Related links

The Vax-Hub