Alumna of the Department as head of the Vaccines Task Force

Kate Bingham (ChCh, Biochemistry, MA (Oxf)) has just produced a report for the UK Government on developing, securing and increasing access vaccines for the UK and internationally, and building UK vaccine capability


Kate Bingham

Kate Bingham

Kate Bingham (1983-1987) graduated with a 1st class Hons MA degree from the Biochemistry Department before gaining a Kennedy Scholarship to read for an MBA from Harvard Business School as the MBA Baker Scholar. For the last 30 years, she has focused on biotechnology at SV Health Investors (formerly Schroder Ventures) in the US, UK and EU, both investing in established biotech companies as well as helping to create new biotech companies based on emerging scientific insights from leading academics. She is a Managing Partner sitting on all investment committees of SV funds that invest in biotech and has served on the boards of several UK and international biotech companies. Additionally, Kate played a leading role in setting up the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), created by six leading pharmaceutical companies, the charity Alzheimer's Research UK and the UK Department of Health. In January 2017, Kate received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the BioIndustry Association UK, and is a board Member of the Francis Crick Institute.

In May 2020, Kate was appointed chair of the Vaccine Task Force, stepping back from her full time role with SV. The group was set up by the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance to lead UK efforts to find and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine. Working under the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kate reported directly to the Prime Minister, and the fixed term appointment ended in December 2020.

The three objectives of the VTF were to:

  1. Secure access to the most promising vaccine/s for the UK population as quickly as possible;
  2. Make provision for international distribution of vaccines so that the benefits of UK leadership and investment in this area could be widely shared; and
  3. Support the UK's Industrial Strategy by establishing a long-term vaccine strategy to prepare the UK for future pandemics.

As outcomes are of the VTF report (linked here ), an attractive portfolio of the most promising vaccines for the UK population has been compiled, including the Oxford/Astra vaccine, and new collaborative arrangements have been put in place to ensure that successful vaccines will be distributed internationally. Additionally, the UK's industrial strategy by reinforcing long-term vaccine capability to prepare the UK for future pandemics, helping to place the UK at the forefront of vaccine R&D, manufacturing and distribution, with a call made for still more capability.

"My choice of Biochemistry and training received in the Department, has clearly had a life-long impact. Over the last 30 years, I have been able to help build companies developing high impact new drugs in the fields of oncology, inflammation and neuroscience" says Kate. " The degree opened up so many opportunities for me, and my appreciation for the life sciences was vital for understanding of the real challenges presented by the Vaccine Taskforce, especially in presentation for politicians and the wider audience"


Tony Watts, Emeritus Professor
14th December 2020