Oxford Biomedica: UK PM opens new manufacturing facility
In the fight against COVID-19 to get the UK population vaccinated, leading gene and cell therapy organisation - Oxford Biomedica - has announced the formal opening of its newest 84,000 square feet manufacturing facility, known as Oxbox, in Oxford.
“This emergency use authorisation marks a landmark day for the UK in the fight against COVID-19 [...] At Oxford Biomedica we are proud to be part of this effort, led by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, to bring a safe and efficacious vaccine to market in less than a year,” stated John Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford Biomedica on the authorisation of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in the final days of 2020.
Originally built to service the organisation's growing demand for lentiviral vectors in partnership with Novartis, BMS and Sanofi, Oxford Biomedica had set its expectations to have one or two of its manufacturing suites approved in 2020 following the build's completion at the end of 2019.
However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oxford Biomedica joined the Oxford Vaccine Consortium in April 2020, in which the organisation wasted no time in for the production of its COVID-19 vaccine.
“We have been working hard with AstraZeneca and other partners to establish GMP manufacturing of AZD1222 at scale, and we are therefore very pleased to extend our current partnership to include large-scale manufacturing of the vaccine candidate, AZD1222 [...] We look forward to continuing to work with AstraZeneca to rapidly contribute to the global effort to support the large-scale manufacturing of AZD1222 to ensure that the vaccine candidate is available if and when it is approved by Regulatory Authorities,” commented Dawson.
As a result of these agreements, the organisation had four manufacturing suites approved by the MHRA, with three out of four contracted by AstraZeneca to produce the vaccine in bulk at 1000L scale.
“We were delighted to host the Prime Minister today at the formal opening of our Oxbox manufacturing facility [...] Oxford Biomedica’s participation in this global effort is a true testament to the dedication, expertise and hard work of our staff who have made huge efforts to bring our manufacturing suites on line in record time to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine at a scale we have not seen before and in different viral vector to which we are traditionally known,” stated Dawson.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.