World's largest vaccine maker takes 3.9% stake in Oxford Biomedica for £50m

·2 min read
World's largest vaccine maker takes 3.9% stake in Oxford Biomedica for £50m. Photo: Heathcliff O'Malley/Pool via Reuters
In January, UK prime minister Boris Johnson visited the quality control laboratory of Oxford Biomedica where batches of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are tested. Photo: Heathcliff O'Malley/Pool via Reuters

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has snapped up a 3.9% stake in London-listed Oxford Biomedica (OXB.L).

The British biotech company said on Wednesday it will receive an investment of just over £50m ($68m) from the Institute, which will be used to fund the development of Oxbox, it’s 84,000 sq. ft manufacturing facility based in Oxford.

The Serum Institute will buy 3.4 million newly issued shares for 1,478p each, equal to Oxford Biomedica’s closing price on Tuesday.

The UK company, which spun off from Oxford University in 1995 and is one of the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers for AstraZeneca (AZN), added that it expects to be able to create up to 120 jobs.

Oxford Biomedica rose 6% on the back of the news. Chart: Yahoo Finance
Oxford Biomedica rose 6% on the back of the news. Chart: Yahoo Finance

"Serum Institute of India has played a big part in the fight against COVID-19, as have we, and we look forward to a strong and collaborative relationship,” John Dawson, chief executive of Oxford Biomedica, said.

“This investment will allow us to expand capacity at Oxbox at a time when our business development pipeline has never looked stronger.”

The Serum Institute of India is the largest manufacturer of vaccines in the world, the biggest supplier to the international Covax programme, and also a producer of the AstraZeneca jab. It has bilateral supply agreements with several countries, including the UK.

Adar Poonawalla, head of the Serum Institute of India, said: "Serum Life Sciences is delighted to have a strategic partnership with Oxford Biomedica, with the objective of building long term capacity in the UK."

Read more: Inside India's Serum Institute: The vaccine manufacturer at the heart of the world's COVID vaccine supply

Oxford Biomedica also develops gene and cell therapies, and manufactures drugs for other pharmaceutical firms.

Sales have more than doubled to £81.3m in the first half of this year, up from £34m in the same period last year, on the back of COVID vaccine manufacturing contracts.

This helped the company swing to a pre-tax profit of £19.2m, from a £6.1m loss previously. Second-half revenue is expected to be at a similar level to the first half.

It added that it was confident of announcing new partnerships in the rest of the year, "leading to additional revenue streams," however, this will be offset by reduced revenue due to planned clean and recalibration of manufacturing suites.

Shares in Oxford Biomedica rose 6% in London on Wednesday.

Watch: Oxford Biomedica CEO on Covid-19 Vaccine, Industry Outlook

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