Benchmark Holdings has sold its vaccine manufacturing facility and business to the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) for £16 million to aid the battle against COVID-19.
The sale follows Sheffield-based Benchmark’s review of its vaccine strategy earlier this year. The aim was to determine the best route to deliver a return from its investment in this business to date.
The sale comes as the government looks to build infrastructure in the UK to scale the manufacture of vaccines and therapeutics in support of the response to COVID-19 created a perfect solution to ensure that our vaccine manufacturing facility is put to best use and to secure employment for its workforce.
Benchmark’s Braintree-based vaccine manufacturing facility and team have a wide range of GMP accredited capabilities including antigen production, formulation, process development and scale manufacturing and can be rapidly repurposed to produce human vaccines.
The state-of-the-art facility, which was completed in 2017, employs 75 highly qualified staff who will transfer to CGT Catapult on completion of the sale.
The transaction is a significant milestone in Benchmark’s strategy to reduce its cost base and focus on its core areas to achieve profitability.
The proceeds do not represent a profit to Benchmark, but the company said are based on the facility’s asset value and have been agreed to support the Government’s vaccine strategy.
The proceeds will further strengthen the Group’s financial position and liquidity, with total potential consideration from recent disposals, including this sale, of c.£42 million.
“I am very pleased to announce this transaction which is another significant step forward in our strategy of becoming a streamlined, profitable business focused on our key areas of competency,” said Benchmark CEO Trond Williksen.
“Benchmark is also delighted that the timing and conclusion of our vaccine strategy review coincides with the need to scale capabilities to manufacture human vaccines in response to COVID-19 and that the talented team at Benchmark will become part of this critical effort.”