Instrumental figures in UK COVID-19 vaccine development recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021

The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021 has been released with several UK biotech and life sciences figures receiving honours for their contributions to the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those receiving honours include:

  • Kate Bingham, former Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce (VTF), has received a damehood
  • Ian McCubbin, former Vaccine Manufacturing expert on the VTF, former VP of global supply for GSK and former chair of the BIA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Taskforce, has received a CBE
  • Annette England (Netty), bioprocessing consultant for the BIA, has received an MBE

Annette England MBE, bioprocessing consultant at the BIA said: “I’m thrilled and humbled (and still a little shocked if I’m honest) to receive this honour. The COVID-19 pandemic has really shone a light on the fantastic bioprocessing community we have here in the UK that I am blessed to have been a part of for over 30 years and is a reflection of the fantastic collaboration we have seen over the COVID-19 pandemic. The manufacturing companies mobilised, without hesitation or question, and contributed huge resources to help scale up the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, saving many lives.

“There are so many fantastic friends and colleagues that I would like to acknowledge, who have supported the UK’s efforts during the pandemic, but would like to pay special tribute to the inspirational leadership of Steve Bates, who had the foresight to instigate the BIA manufacturing group back in February last year; to Kate Bingham for her brilliance in chairing the Vaccines Taskforce; and of course to the amazing Ian McCubbin for leading the sector’s response and bringing out the absolute best in everyone involved. It has been a privilege and honour to have been part of this incredible team.” 

Ian McCubbin CBE, Former Vaccine Manufacturing expert on the VTF said: “I can’t think of anybody who has deserved this recognition more than Netty, she is always the first to contribute ,always brings people together, and in the response to this COVID crisis she has been absolutely outstanding, as she always is. Good things do happen to nice people, well done Netty!”

Clive Dix, Former Chair of the VTF said: “Their (Kate, Netty and Ian) commitment and dedication has helped save thousands of lives and this recognition is justly deserved.”

Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BioIndustry Association and former member of the Vaccine Taskforce said: “I’m delighted that these individuals and figures from across the UK biotech and life sciences sector have been recognised for their instrumental work in getting the UK to the place it is today, which due to their heroic effort’s is resulting in vaccines getting into patient’s arms. The pandemic has shown the strength of the UK ecosystem which has led global efforts to develop, manufacture and deploy the COVID-19 vaccines, therapies and diagnostics needed to re-open global economies.

“Kate Bingham’s incredible leadership of the VTF meant that the UK was able to procure vaccine candidates early in the summer of 2020, giving the NHS a long lead in time to understand how to deploy vaccines rapidly once they gained approval. Ian and Netty have spearheaded the UK’s work in vaccine manufacturing, working day and night to bring together industry, academia and government to assess supply chains and to understand if we had the manufacturing capability here in the UK, to support the scale up of a successful COVID-19 vaccine.”

The BIA’s manufacturing community has been at the heart of efforts to understand the challenges of the manufacturing and scale up of a successful COVID-19 vaccine. Industry and academics from all corners of the UK have contributed their expertise and resources, to find solutions to this monumental challenge by supporting both the Oxford University Jenner Institute’s ChAdOX and Imperial’s RNA vaccine.

The group was chaired by Ian McCubbin CBE, Chairman of RoslinCT, and assigned experts to relevant workstreams and appointed leads to report back on a weekly basis. These workstreams were broken into Adenovirus vaccine, mRNA vaccine manufacture and formulation, antibody, fill finish, supply chain, progress on the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC) and communications.

Notes to Editors

  1. For further information and interview opportunities, please contact Jack Fellows, BIA Communication and Media Manager, on [email protected] or 07825942934
  2. The full list of honours can be found here.  
  3. Further information the BIA COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Taskforce can be found here.