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New £50 million building to house team behind the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

PIC: Oxford University

The Poonawalla Vaccines Research unit will be created on the Old Road Campus.

A £50 million donation will see the creation of a new Oxford University building, which will be the new home of the world-class Jenner Institute team behind the Oxford University/AstraZeneca jab.

Other leading Oxford teams - such as those developing a malaria vaccine - will also eventually move in to the Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building.

The donation from Serum Life Sciences Ltd, will be the University of Oxford's largest ever gift for vaccines research.

The company is wholly-owned by the Billionaire Poonawalla family, owners of the Serum Institute of India, who have dedicated their life's work to the development, manufacture and supply of affordable vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. 

The Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building - which will house over 300 research scientists - will share infrastructure and support facilities for scientific research and academic teaching with the recently announced Oxford University Pandemic Sciences Centre.

Together, they will form a unique hub that will significantly contribute to global pandemic preparedness and responsiveness. 

It will become the new headquarters and main laboratory space of the Jenner Institute, the world-leading academic vaccine institute named after Edward Jenner, the father of vaccination.

The most recent Serum Institute-Jenner Institute collaboration saw the rapid development and global roll-out of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at scale.

Natasha Poonawalla, Chair, Serum Life Sciences, said: "We are delighted to make this £50m commitment to the University of Oxford, for the building of The Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building.

"Vaccines save lives, and the development of vaccines has been the lifelong focus of the Poonawalla family. We are committed to developing and supplying vaccines to people who need them most.

"To make this happen, we build many scientific collaborations with the world's leading research institutes but today, we are making this keystone donation to give the world-class team at Oxford a brand-new facility from which to take their research to the next level." 
Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University said. "The striking success of the collaborative programmes on both the malaria and COVID-19 vaccines between the Serum Institute of India and Oxford University has highlighted the great potential of partnerships between leading Universities and large-scale manufacturers to develop and supply vaccines for very cost-effective deployment at exceptional scale.

"We look forward to a wider range of vaccine activities in the future building on this generous support from the Poonawalla family."

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