July 23 (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.
$1 = 0.7857 pounds Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty