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UK government has awarded chemical producer Croda a £15.9 million grant to increase the UK’s capacity to manufacture key vaccine ingredients.
A grant of £15.9 million (approximately US$20.8 million) has been awarded to chemical producer Croda to increase the United Kingdom’s manufacturing capacity of specialty lipids, an essential ingredient in messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, the company announced on March 31, 2022. The grant will significantly increase Croda’s production capacity at its facility in Leek, Staffordshire.
The investment will also allow for the ability to increase both range and volume of lipid production in the UK, specifically the mRNA lipid used in numerous COVID-19 vaccines. The Leek facility will also see an increase in jobs due to the investment.
The increase in the production of mRNA lipids has the potential to transform vaccines in the future as well as further develop those existing currently. mRNA has been crucial to the production of many COVID-19 vaccines and will be able to aid in producing flu vaccines and develop new technologies such as gene therapies for cancer and heart disease.
“The development of mRNA technology has been one of the greatest scientific leaps forward since the start of the pandemic and the potential for its use in future therapies – potentially treating cancer and heart disease – is remarkable,” said Business Secretary Kwasi Kwartneg in a press release. “I am therefore extremely pleased to announce this support for Croda, a market leader in the manufacture of essential mRNA components, and the only manufacturer of lipids currently operating in the UK. Not only will this funding provide a significant boost to Britain’s life sciences industry, enabling the production of an extra 3 billion vaccine doses domestically, but it also represents an important investment into the West Midlands’ economy as we work to onshore manufacturing to the UK.”