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Health Protection Agency - Protecting the Health of Everyone in the UK

The Health Protection Agency exists to help protect the health of everyone in the UK with particular emphasis on reducing the impacts of infectious diseases, poisons, chemical and radiation hazards.

The Agency provides expert scientific advice to the government, public and others, whilst at the same time developing its scientific capabilities in association with industry to develop new healthcare products.

Contract research, testing, development and manufacture of products

Various component parts of the Agency have been working with the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare sectors of industry for over 50 years, undertaking contract research, testing, development and manufacture of products. There is particular expertise in vaccines, enzymes, diagnostics, therapeutic proteins and other biologically derived compounds.

The Health Protection Agency has four main research centres as well as a network of laboratories and units across the country. The most recent centre to join the agency in 2009 was the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC). NIBSC's mission is to assure the quality of biological medicines. At the heart of the work is the preparation, storage and worldwide distribution of WHO International Standards and Reference Materials to provide benchmarks for product quality. In addition NIBSC provides testing services as the UK's Official Medicines Control Laboratory to ensure compliance with product specifications.

Development of biological products derived from microbial fermentation

In addition to this regulatory role the Agency also has licensed facilities including both GMP and non-GMP areas for the development of biological products derived from microbial fermentation, particularly those requiring microbial containment or focused on the biodefence market.

GMP manufacture and biodefence

Our services include GMP manufacture, biosafety level two and three containment, biodefence, providing clinical trial material, producing vaccines, overseeing process development and running GLP testing laboratories. The Health Protection Agency also remains dedicated to small-scale needs.

We are able to undertake the various stages of process development from initial concept through to finished product by working in partnership with our customers. These include:

  • A proprietary expression system
  • Cell banking
  • Media development and yield optimisation
  • Fermentation scale-up
  • Purification and down stream processing

Crossflow filtration equipment

Our GMP production plant features bacterial fermentation vessels from 25L to 750L and product recovery equipment including continuous centrifuges and crossflow filtration equipment. A separate licensed facility is designed to operate up to containment level three conditions with dedicated air handling and effluent treatment for the manufacture of specialist products, including toxin therapeutics and biodefence vaccines.

High quality microbiological research and testing

Research is a driving force of the Agency which is internationally recognised as a world leader in high quality microbiological research and testing. We have a proven track record of working with foreign governments, international biotechnology and pharmaceutical corporations, as well as start-up and spin-out companies.

One area in which the Agency is considered to be at the cutting edge is in diagnostics. Our laboratories work closely together with hospitals and health authorities across the UK and has produced a number of tests which have been commercialised.

The Business Development Department of the Agency covers all areas of our work and its aim is to identify key research products and technologies that can be developed and licensed. The department also works closely with customers to ensure that we deliver where undertaking service activities on behalf of partners and stakeholders to generate a positive circle of research, investment and product development benefitting public health.


Health Protection Agency
Business Development
Porton Down,

Tel: 01980 612221
Fax: 01980 612242