The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the limited capacity of low- and medium-income countries to secure access to critical vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for their people. This situation is aggravated by an almost total lack of manufacturing capacity for vaccines and therapeutics, particularly acute in Sub-Saharan African countries.
Univercells, founded in 2013, is a biomanufacturing infrastructure and services company focused on increasing the availability of affordable biologics. Capitalizing on bioprocessing and engineering expertise, the company offers innovative manufacturing solutions to alleviate the industry’s current shortfall in supply of cell and gene therapies, vaccines, and biotherapeutics. Its distributed manufacturing model will decentralize vaccine (and other biologics), manufacturing and licensing in key middle-income countries globally, thus developing local capacities and expertise that will strengthen regional healthcare systems’ resilience and autonomy.
SEDF’s investment will go to building tech transfer capacity within Univercells and the execution of 1–2 tech transfers into the Global South.
This investment is aligned with Open Society’s broad grant-giving to local partners and advocacy in support of access to healthcare in general, and to affordable drugs and therapies in particular.