AN IRVINE medicine manuracturer is providing critical testing and raw ingredients for COVID-19 vaccines under development.

The Irvine Merck plant is currently at the forefront in the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, providing essential chemicals used in the vaccine development process

Recently developed manufacturing platform with The Jenner Institute at Oxford University has reduced process development time to two months from a year – a critical step to manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine at scale

Merck, a leading science and technology company is using three of its sites in Scotland to provide critical ingredients and testing for the development of ground-breaking COVID-19 vaccines.

Merck’s Irvine facility supplies critical raw ingredients to the global healthcare industry and is providing several buffers – the chemicals that control the pH levels of the vaccine mixture – to leading COVID-19 vaccine programmes to assist in vaccine development. The buffers are an essential element of the production process when developing vaccines.

Head of EU Biologics Operations at Merck David McClelland said: “It’s taking a global effort to find a solution for this pandemic and here in Scotland we are supporting a number of companies to develop and produce an unprecedented amount of potential vaccines and therapeutics. We know how critical our work is to these development efforts, so we have taken robust measures to assure business continuity. Our scientists have been split into three teams that never cross over with one another. This has two benefits. It means there are less people on site at any time to allow greater social distancing. It also ensures we can continue our critical work if a team member starts to show symptoms of Covid-19 and their whole team needs to quarantine.”

“Speed is a major challenge when facing a new outbreak like COVID-19. Our industry collaboration with The Jenner Institute since 2018 has played a valuable role in supporting their rapid response to this pandemic.

“Our Scottish sites work with over 600 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies across the globe every year to perform essential testing as new cutting-edge medicines are developed. It’s incredible to now be part of the global effort to deliver lifesaving vaccines in the face of this pandemic.”