World-class medical research institute gets multimillion dollar expansion

Image Credit: Queensland Government
Media Release

A world leading Queensland medical research facility will receive a multimillion-dollar investment to ramp up the development and manufacturing of vaccines.

The project is the first to be announced under the Palaszczuk Government’s new flagship $1.84 billion Queensland Jobs Fund.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government was investing $20 million towards the development of a new Translational Manufacturing Institute at the existing Translational Research Institute (TRI).

“The $1.84 billion Queensland Jobs Fund is the next evolution of Queensland’s approach to industry development and jobs creation,” the Premier said.

“People and businesses are moving to Queensland in droves because they know it is one of the safest places in the world to live, work and raise a family.

“My government will provide up to $20 million to expand the existing TRI to include a new state-of-the-art Translational Manufacturing Institute called “TMI@TRI”.

“This will accelerate development of one of the State’s most important health-research precincts and ramp up Australia’s capacity to develop our biomedical industry and manufacture vaccines.

“It will also support an estimated 500 jobs over 10 years.”

The project is the first to be announced as part of the Government’s new $350 million Industry Partnership Program, within the $1.84 billion Queensland Jobs Fund unveiled today.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said Queensland could be a vaccine manufacturing location for the whole country.

“The Queensland Jobs Fund is the government’s next step toward Queensland’s economic recovery,” Mr Miles said.

“What better project to kick it off than an investment in biomedical manufacturing that will create high-skilled jobs in Queensland and could lead to the development of life saving vaccines.

“I want Queensland to lead the country in vaccine research, development, and manufacturing, and I’ve been talking to leading biomedical experts about how to do this.

“TMI@TRI was one of their strong recommendations.

“We want to keep growing the state’s biomedical sector, which already employs more than 10,000 people across more than 1200 companies.

“From the very start of the pandemic, Queenslanders have shown the world the capability of our biomedical research and development.

“Scaling up manufacturing is the next frontier for us. Imagine Queensland becoming Australia’s leading vaccine manufacturing location, right here at Woolloongabba.”

Treasurer and Minister for Investment, Cameron Dick said that under the $1.84 billion fund, the government is working to supercharge the economic recovery.

“Our strong health response to COVID-19 has enabled us to accelerate the recovery of our economy, which is now larger than what it was pre-pandemic,” the Treasurer said.

“We’re now ready to drive that next phase of economic growth”.

“Queensland’s COVID19 economic recovery plan is unashamedly focused on growing Queensland jobs and our state’s manufacturing base

“The Queensland Jobs Fund will help us unlock private sector investment to achieve this.

“If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is that we need to manufacture more things in Queensland, by Queenslanders, for Queenslanders.

“This includes manufacturing more medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and vaccines right here in our backyard.

“We want to work with investors on high impact projects will create a new generation of jobs now and well into the future.”

CEO of the Translational Research Institute Scott Bell said that the establishment of the Translational Manufacturing Institute (TMI@TRI) will support the local retention of start-ups to advance the commercialisation of their products, and help this industry realise economic and export opportunities.

“The provision of fully operational Good Manufacturing Practice cleanrooms will also see up to 100 people gain hands-on training in cleanroom processes and advanced manufacturing annually, creating a highly skilled workforce for the medtech industry.”

Professor Ian Frazer AC FRS, co-inventor of the Gardasil vaccine for cervical cancer said because of Australia’s limited manufacturing capability for biological products in the 1970s, the cervical cancer vaccine was unable to be tested and manufactured locally.

“This meant that large-scale clinical trials were conducted overseas. This remains the case today,” he said.

“I’ve recently contributed to the development of two research products, a potential treatment for COVID-19 and an immunotherapy for head and neck cancer.

“These were manufactured overseas, because we lacked the capacity to produce them here.

“I would like to see Queensland help Australia to develop the capacity and capability to manufacture products like these here and TMI@TRI can help us achieve this.”

TRI has sought Australian Government funding under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) for this expansion at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Precinct.

The Queensland Government is prepared to support the project with up to $20 million, within the boundaries of the MMI funding guidelines, and is encouraging the Australian Government to support TMI@TRI.

The TMI@TRI project aligns with the government’s Queensland Biomedical 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan to make Queensland a globally competitive Asia-Pacific biomedical hub by 2027.

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