Victoria launches new round of grants for mRNA research, startups

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Biotech manufacturing startups and research teams in Victoria can now apply for grants as part of the third round of the mRNA Victoria Research Acceleration Fund. 

Minister for Economic Growth Tim Pallas officially launched the latest round today, 27 October, announcing funding amounting to $500,000 to help research teams developing new RNA and mRNA-based therapeutics accelerate the translation of research. 

Grants of up to $100,000 are available for teams conducting early-stage research. 

Victoria leads the development of mRNA technology in Victoria, with Moderna’s mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Clayton recently hitting a significant construction milestone. The facility is expected to produce 100 million mRNA vaccine doses per year. 

Melbourne is also home to Moderna’s headquarters for Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Oceania, as well as the recently opened Moderna Regional Research Centre for Respiratory Medicines and Tropical Diseases. 

“mRNA is an exciting and growing part of our innovation economy, providing amazing jobs now and the potential for many more in the future,” Minister Pallas said. 

“Close collaboration between industry and researchers means we can unlock the potential of mRNA and advanced manufacturing for life-changing new vaccines and medicines,” he added. 

Forty-two Victorian research projects have benefited from the state government’s more than $27 million investments to unlock new mRNA treatments and vaccines for diseases including muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s and hard-to-treat cancers. 

The state recently announced a $10 million investment in establishing the Monash Centre for Advanced mRNA Medicines Manufacturing and Workforce Training, a dedicated training facility for the future workforce of the Asia-Pacific region in mRNA therapeutic development and advanced manufacturing.

“Victoria’s dedicated and talented medical researchers are changing and saving lives – and we’re proud to back them in their vital work,” said Minister for Medical Research Ben Carroll.