Benchmark entered into a business purchase agreement relating to the business and assets comprising its vaccine manufacturing facility at Braintree, UK to Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult for £16 million.
Earlier this year Benchmark announced that it had initiated a review of its vaccine strategy, including manufacturing and R&D, to determine the best route to deliver a return from its investment in this business to date. The transaction is a significant milestone in the company’s strategy to reduce its cost base and focus on its core areas to achieve profitability. The proceeds from the sale do not represent a profit to Benchmark, but are based on the facility’s asset value and have been agreed to support the government’s vaccine strategy.
CGT Catapult is a center of excellence in innovation with the core purpose of building a world-leading cell and gene therapy sector in the UK as a key part of a global industry. CGT Catapult is supported by Innovate UK, with a mission to drive the growth of the industry by helping cell and gene therapy organizations across the world translate early-stage research into commercially viable and investable therapies. CGT Catapult counts over 230 experts, state of the art development and viral vector laboratories and a large scale GMP manufacturing center helping bring cell and gene therapies to market in the UK and internationally.
The government’s strategy to build infrastructure in the UK to scale the manufacture of vaccines and therapeutics in support of the response to COVID-19 created a perfect solution to ensure that Benchmark’s vaccine manufacturing facility is put to best use and to secure employment for its workforce. Benchmark’s Braintree facility and team have a wide range of GMP (good manufacturing practice) accredited capabilities including antigen production, formulation, process development and scale manufacturing and can be rapidly repurposed to produce human vaccines. The state-of-the-art facility, which was completed in 2017, employs 75 highly qualified staff who will be transferred to CGT Catapult on completion of the sale.