U.K. makes novel vaccine delivery a focus of life science plans 

The Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster in the U.K. (By Diliff - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1634181)

The U.K. has vowed to deepen its expertise in vaccine formulation and delivery as part of its vision for the life sciences industry. Government officials want to support a move away from injections and toward delivery of vaccines via the mouth, skin and nose. 

As part of its goal to establish the U.K. as a leading life sciences hub, the U.K. government has shared a policy paper setting out its vision for the industry. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the proposals are based on the approach of the task force convened to source COVID-19 vaccines, which applied a venture capital-style risk diversification model to the procurement of jabs. 

The vaccines procured by the U.K. and other countries come in vials and are delivered via syringes. One of the goals of the policy paper is to change how vaccines are administered in the future by supporting the development of novel delivery technologies.   

“There is … an opportunity to focus on developing new modes of administering vaccines, including on innovating delivery through the mouth (oral), skin (transdermal or intra-dermal) or nose (intra-nasal), and tackle the barriers that exist in the market which prevent the scale-up and commercialisation of those novel vaccine formulation technologies,” the report states.

The policy paper envisages the new modes of vaccine administration addressing the shortcomings of vials and syringes, which it says are “slow to distribute and deliver to patients at scale, involve complex supply chains and specialist storage and distribution conditions.” 

Officials proposed supporting novel ways of delivering vaccines as part of a broader goal of keeping the U.K. at the forefront of the discovery, development, manufacture and use of vaccines. Details of what the U.K. will do in practice to improve vaccine delivery and achieve its broader objectives are scant, but the policy paper establishes priorities for investment in life sciences.