The U.K. government has put a manufacturing plant up for sale that was instrumental in the country’s plan to battle future pandemics.
According to The Financial Times, the plant, dubbed the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC), had received at least £215 million of public funding since it was launched in 2018.
A handful of companies have placed bids for the 74,000 m2 plant, located in Harwell, approximately 15 miles from Oxford.
The U.K. had planned on using the facility to make vaccines for epidemics, but the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the role of private industry in vaccine manufacturing.
The country had scheduled to complete work on the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre in 2023 but moved that date to spring 2022 in an earlier phase of the pandemic.
Created as a nonprofit organization, the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC) was initially the brainchild of Oxford University, Imperial College London, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Janssen and Kenilworth, N.J.–headquartered Merck.