La Trobe University to house BioNTech’s new mRNA manufacturing facility

Image credit: La Trobe University

La Trobe University’s Melbourne campus will soon become home to a new BioNTech facility that will manufacture new investigational mRNA therapies for serious diseases like cancer. 

The planned facility, which received backing from the Victorian Government, will enable researchers to develop investigational mRNA-based treatment options and facilitate the manufacturing of investigational candidates for clinical trials in the Asia-Pacific region. 

BioNTech specialises in optimising the potential of the immune system by developing investigational immunotherapeutic treatment methods, including mRNA-based vaccine candidates, to fight cancer and other diseases. 

In partnership with Pfizer, BioNTech developed the world’s first approved COVID-19 vaccine, known as Comirnaty®. 

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan and Minister for Economic Growth Tim Pallas joined BioNTech Chief Operating Officer Sierk Poetting, La Trobe Chancellor John Brumby, and La Trobe Vice-Chancellor John Dewar today in announcing the location of the new facility. 

“This partnership means more mRNA expertise in our state, more treatments for people with hard-to-treat cancers – and 1,200 more local jobs,” Premier Allan said. 

“This is a coup that cements our standing as a global destination for biotechnology investment, research and talent, and ensures we remain at the forefront of mRNA innovation,” Minister Pallas at the announcement today. 

The Victorian government also funded the establishment of a new Victorian Centre for AI in Medical Innovation at La Trobe, which will develop and apply innovative AI solutions and provide pathway opportunities for researchers and students in the field. 

The centre will sit alongside the new BioNTech facility. 

“The planned BioNTech manufacturing mRNA facility will connect groundbreaking research and developments in mRNA vaccines and therapies with La Trobe’s research expertise, building on our already established national and global partnerships in cancer, cardiovascular and infectious disease,” said Professor Dewar. 

“Complementing the planned facility, the Victorian Centre for AI in Medical Innovation will apply La Trobe’s world-leading expertise in AI and health to mRNA technology, helping accelerate the development of cancer vaccines and treatments,” Dewar added.