Swindon is set to become the home of Pfizer in the UK after a landmark deal was struck which could bring a £70m investment and 200 jobs to the town.

US company Thermo Fisher, which has a base on Kingfisher Drive, will become a production hub for worldwide supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. 

It will be the first time that the vaccine will be made or bottled in the UK.

The deal with the pharmaceutical giant will see the vaccine produced and bottled in the town before being sent to Pfizer’s depot in the Belgian town of Puurs – which is where most of the world’s supply currently comes from.

From next year laboratory equipment maker Thermo Fisher will be taking on ‘fill and finish’ duties, which involves putting the vaccines into vials and packaging them for distribution. 

Pfizer manufactures the drug at nine sites in the US and Europe and says that the Swindon deal will add a significant amount of capacity to its network. 

It has been reported Thermo Fisher will be investing £70m into its Swindon site to get it ready for the new commitments, with the expansion including two new manufacturing lines and ultra-cold storage. 

A spokesperson for Pfizer confirmed the deal in a statement: “We are pleased to confirm that a Thermo Fisher Scientific site in Swindon, UK will support the global manufacturing and supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.” 

“Once activated, the site will provide sterile formulation and fill and finish support to the established, integrated global supply chain."

Pfizer also confirmed that the production is slated to be begin next year once Thermo Fisher has finished preparations. 

The spokesperson continued: “Given the extensive tech transfer process, on-site development, equipment installation and regulatory approvals needed for the sites, we expect the facility will be brought into the network in early 2022.”

Pfizer UK manager Ben Osborn told the Mail Online: “I’m delighted that through this agreement, the UK will be playing a role in producing vaccines to try to reach as many people around the world as quickly as possible.

“We work hard to ensure continuity of supply and, to date, we have been able to keep a steady flow of vaccines into the UK – ensuring we are delivering according to the monthly allocations agreed with the UK Vaccines Taskforce.”

The deal could bring a reported 200 jobs to the town and South Swindon MP Robert Buckland says it is a huge boost – especially with the town's life sciences core. 

“As the UK ramps up its vaccine production capacity, it is great news that Swindon, with its strong life sciences sector, is going to be a key part of the production of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for use across the world.” he said. 

Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard said: "Thermo Fisher is a world leading company with a great history of innovation and an important part of the Swindon economy.

"We have worked with them over a number of years to help them develop their business and this latest announcement is hugely welcome for Thermo Fisher, Swindon and, indeed, for the safety of the world. I congratulate all those at Thermo Fisher and this is yet more proof that Swindon is a great place to do business."

This move will help Pfizer achieve its goal of administering four billion vaccines in 2022, when the Thermo Fisher production line is up and running. 

Its target for 2021 is three billion doses and 1.6 billion have been administered.

The UK has been one of Pfizer’s biggest customers, buying 100 million doses in 2021 alone.

It will also provide a boon to Britain’s domestic coronavirus vaccine production industry as two other vaccines are currently being produced in the UK. 

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being produced and packaged at sites in Keele, Oxford and Wrexham. 

Stockton-on-Tees is also the manufacturing home for Novavax, which is yet to apply for approval for its vaccine.  

Thermo Fisher was approached for comment but did not respond before the Adver went to press.