The UK government has struck a deal with biotech company Valneva to build facilities in Scotland to potentially develop a coronavirus vaccine.
The deal would see a manufacturing facility built in Livingston, West Lothian, with the potential to produce 60m units of a vaccine.
The government and the French biotech company struck an agreement last month to provide the vaccine if the company’s trial vaccine is successful.
There is also an additional deal in place with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce 100m units of Oxford University’s trial vaccine if proven to be safe.
Speaking about the Valneva deal, business secretary Alok Sharma said: “I’m incredibly grateful to our highly-skilled scientists and technicians in Livingston who are supporting the global effort to research, develop and manufacture a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine.
“The multi-million-pound up-front investment we have agreed with Valneva today means that their vaccine can be manufactured in quantity right here in Scotland. If clinical trials are successful, millions of people in priority groups across the UK will be protected by their life-saving vaccine.”
UK vaccine taskforce chief Kate Bingham added: ““In order to vaccinate our high-risk populations at the earliest opportunity, the government has agreed to proactively manufacture vaccines now, so we have millions of doses of vaccine ready if they are shown to be safe and effective.
“This important investment in Valneva’s Scottish manufacturing plant will not only help us with this, but also ensures we are well-placed as a country to be able to cope with any pandemics or health crises in the future.”