Pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s decision to choose Bristol as the location for its second centre of excellence for vaccine research is a “real vote of confidence” in the UK, the Health Secretary has said.
Matt Hancock was speaking at the launch of the Pfizer Centre of Excellence for Epidemiology of Vaccine-preventable Diseases, based at the University of Bristol, which is the first of its kind outside the US.
The centre will undertake research to support the design, development and use of next-generation vaccines.
Mr Hancock said: “I see it as a real vote of confidence that this has been launched here in the UK.
“As a Government, we care passionately about the life sciences and creating the right conditions for partnerships like this one to thrive, putting in place the investment, supporting the skills base, making sure for instance we get the right design for clinical trials.
“Making sure that the UK offer in the life sciences is so good that it will be impossible not to invest and locate here in the UK.”
Mr Hancock said he would be hosting health ministers from the G7 countries at Oxford University next week who, along with life science leaders, would be “working together on the challenges ahead”.
“If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that we must draw on all the talent and expertise out there in the fight against the virus,” he said.
Following his speech, Mr Hancock said the launch of the new centre would also help ensure the UK was “future-proofed” against public health emergencies going forward.
“While the Covid-19 vaccination programme continues to save thousands of lives across the UK, we have a duty as a Government to ensure the country is future-proofed in every possible way from future health threats,” he said.
Mr Hancock did not take questions from reporters following the event.