Millions of doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are set to be produced on Teesside, if trials are successful.
These would be made at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Billingham after the Government reached an agreement with American-based Novavax.
This would be the only place in the UK the vaccine will be produced and the process is set to start "in the coming months".
Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, explains about the vaccine trials:
Up to 60m doses would be made on Teesside if clinical trials prove to be a success and the vaccine is approved for wider use. It is predicted that it could be available by 2021 and given first to priority groups such as frontline health and social care workers, ethnic minorities, adults with serious diseases, and the elderly.
Fujifilm are building a new "BioCampus" in Billingham, which has been supported by money from the Tees Valley Combined Authority.
The development will include a 42,000 square foot purpose built office accommodation and visitor centre and this is expected to include additional research and development labs and new manufacturing facilities, which would be used to produce the vaccine.
It has been fantastic to work with Fujifilm to ensure the government has reached this agreement with them. They are doing fantastic work in our hugely important bioscience sector, creating the skilled jobs we need and leading the way on innovation, and there’s no bigger project across the world right now than creating and manufacturing a coronavirus vaccine.