BLOG: Celebrating the Achievements of the Oxford Vaccine Consortium

Last month, for the first time in-person, the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Consortium was able to get together to celebrate its monumental achievements during the pandemic.Oxford Vaccine Celebration Sep21_John Cairns

Photo Credit: John Cairns

Looking back to where it all began

In January 2020, the University of Oxford Jenner Institute began work designing an adenovirus vaccine to fight against COVID-19, and by March announced that they had found a likely candidate, known as ChAdOx1. Cobra Biologics, with a strong track record in viral vector manufacturing at it's Keele Science Park facility, was invited to join the manufacturing consortium to rapidly develop, scale-up and produce the recombinant adenovirus vector, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Led by the Jenner Institute, the consortium also included the University of Oxford Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility, the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), Advent Srl, Pall Life Sciences, and Halix BV.

Peter Coleman, former CEO, Cobra Biologics, commented on the announcement: “The organisations within the consortium led by the Jenner Institute are experts from across industry and academia, with the experience, capability and conviction to deliver a successful outcome. Cobra is privileged to have been invited to participate and contribute to the fight against COVID-19, as this virus continues to impact the globe exponentially.”

Read the press release in full here

The race to manufacture a life-saving vaccine

The first human clinical trials commenced in April and shortly thereafter AstraZeneca announced its in-licensed programme with the University of Oxford to ensure broad and equitable supply of the vaccine throughout the world, at no profit during the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, Cobra signed a supply agreement with AstraZeneca to provide GMP manufacture of the adenovirus vector-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222 (previously known as ChAdOx1 n-CoV-19).

Read the press release in full here

By November the efficacy data was announced and on the 30th December 2020 the MHRA officially gave the green light to the vaccine to be rolled out in January 2021.

What a year for science

Prof. Daniel Smith, Executive Director, Global Cell & Gene Therapy Portfolio Strategy, Cobra Biologics reflects: "What a year for science. My word for the year has been collaboration – everyone has worked together and has had a common goal. It has been a race against the virus, not against each other."

Read more about how the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine made it from the lab into the arms of millions in under a year, including an interview with Prof. Daniel Smith: The Oxford miracle: making enough COVID-19 vaccine to supply the world

Watch our free, on-demand webinar with special guests from the University of Oxford Jenner Institute and Pall: How the Pandemic has Accelerated Collaboration: A CDMO Perspective