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UK-backed firm buys vaccine facility from Benchmark Holdings

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration

(Reuters) – A firm backed by the UK government has purchased a vaccine manufacturing facility from healthcare company Benchmark Holdings as the country ramps up efforts to produce potential coronavirus vaccines.

The London-listed company said on Thursday that Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult has bought its vaccine manufacturing facility at Braintree, UK for 16 million pounds ($20.36 million) in cash.

“This new … centre, alongside crucial investment in skills, will support our efforts to rapidly produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine while ensuring the UK can respond quickly to potential future pandemics,” UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma said in a separate statement.

The deal is part of the UK government’s 100-million-pound investment plan to boost its capacity to rapidly produce COVID-19 vaccines when they are available.

CGT Catapult is supported by Innovate UK.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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