The UK Vaccine Network brings together industry, academia and relevant funding bodies to make targeted investments in specific vaccines and vaccine technology for infectious diseases with the potential to cause an epidemic.
Role of the group
Vaccines are widely recognised as an important mechanism in controlling infectious disease outbreaks. However, outbreaks of some of the world’s deadliest diseases only occur intermittently, and often in the world’s poorest countries, meaning that there may not be a strong market incentive to for the pharmaceutical industry to develop vaccines for such diseases.
The UK government is taking concerted and coordinated action to address this market failure. The UK has committed to invest £120 million between 2016 and 2021 on the development of new vaccines for such diseases, in line with the expert advice provided by the UK Vaccines Network.
The focus of the Network is to identify and shortlist targeted investment opportunities for the most promising vaccines and vaccine technologies that will help combat infectious diseases with epidemic potential, and to address structural issues related to the UK’s broader vaccine infrastructure.
The UK Vaccine Network is made up of leading experts from academia, industry and policy. All members are invited to join the Network in a personal capacity, not as representatives of specific organisations or bodies.
Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health
- Adrian Hill, The University of Oxford
- Mike Francis, Independent consultant
- Eleanor Riley, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
- Ian Hudson, The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
- Miles Carroll, Public Health England
- Gary Entrican, The Moredun Research Institute
- Jeffrey Almond, The University of Oxford
- Peter Openshaw, Imperial College London
- Fiona Tomley, The Royal Veterinary College
- Tarit Mukhopadhyay, University College London
- Massimo Palmarini, The University of Glasgow
- Xiao-Ning Xu, Imperial College London
- Andrew Pollard, The University of Oxford
- Melanie Welham, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
- Neil Ferguson, Imperial College London
- Simon Foster, The University of Sheffield
- Stephen Inglis, Formerly of The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control
- Timothy Atkins, The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
- Johan Van Hoof, Johnson and Johnson
- Jean Lang, Sanofi Pasteur
- Paul Cosford, Public Health England
- John Edmunds, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
- Emmanuel Hanon, GlaxoSmithKline
- Charlie Weller, The Wellcome Trust
- Mahesh Kumar, Zoetis
- Steve Chatfield, Emergent BioSolutions
- Charlotte Watts, The Department for International Development
- Bryan Charleston, The Pirbright Institute
- Christian Schneider, The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control
The Network operates through a series of working groups. Each group has a specific focus and they feedback their findings to the Network.
Working group 1: Identify and prioritise human and zoonotic diseases
Chair: Miles Carrol, Public Health England.
Working group 1 identify and prioritise human and zoonotic diseases with epidemic potential in human or animal populations, for which vaccines can have an outbreak altering impact. The group also look for gaps in knowledge about these diseases (including basic pathogen biology and host immunology), and where human and veterinary vaccinology can learn from each other.
Working group 2: Understand how a vaccine will impact on an epidemic disease outbreak
Chair: Eleanor Riley, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Working group 2 aims to develop a systematic, shared understanding of under what circumstances a vaccine is likely or unlikely to have an impact on an epidemic disease outbreak. This includes outbreaks where the pathogen is not currently known, and what vaccine technologies could play an important role in future outbreaks.
Working group 3: Produce a process map for vaccine, from discovery to deployment
Chair: Tarit Mukhopadhyay, University College London.
Working group 3 produces process maps for vaccine discovery, development, manufacture and deployment. This will help to understand where the main rate limiting steps are for any given vaccine and mean that these can be addressed efficiently.
Working group 4: Look at the manufacture of vaccines
Chair: Jeffery Almond, University of Oxford.
Working group 4 considers questions around the manufacture of vaccines, such as:
- where could a small scale or large scale facility make a difference in the UK?
- what could we build, and where/with whom could or should we collaborate with?
- what existing facilities are there that could support scale-up for manufacture of small stockpiles?
Current funding projects
The Department of Health is funding a number of projects to develop candidate vaccines for priority pathogens, committing a total of £33 million to date. The following list includes all projects funded by the UK Vaccine Network. In addition, in 2016, £2.95 million of the Network’s budget was used to make a one-off donation to the PATH product development partnership.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is running a competition to support One Health research, with a total of £5 million funding available. This will promote antigen discovery, enhance understanding of disease pathogenesis, and accelerate vaccine development for a range of viral and bacterial families that have a significant impact on animal and human health in low and/or middle income countries.
The deadline for applications is 25 October 2017. For full details, please see the BBSRC website.
Recently closed projects
SBRI funding competition: vaccines for global epidemics – clinical:
The Department of Health is to invest up to £35 million in projects to develop new vaccines against infectious diseases.
This competition aims to support the clinical development of candidate vaccines against 12 diseases. The UK Vaccine Network has identified these diseases as a priority because they have the potential to cause epidemics in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The competition is a single stage. It covers carrying out clinical development of vaccines up to and including phase IIb trials. We expect that individual contracts will be valued up to £3 million. Projects should last between 24 and 36 months.
This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition run in partnership with the Department of Health and the Medical Research Council. It is open to organisations of all sizes. Academic, industry and government bodies are all eligible to apply for funding
The competition opened on 23 January 2017. The competition closed on 19 April 2017.
This competition has now closed and proposals are under consideration.
Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub
The Department of Health, through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), invited outline applications for a large-scale, multidisciplinary Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub to address major challenges of developing, scaling up and manufacturing vaccines of benefit to and for use in low and middle income countries.
The competition opened on 24 January 2017 and closed on 02 March 2017.
This competition has now closed and proposals are under consideration.