Following the Commonwealth identifying onshore production of mRNA vaccines as a national priority, the Victorian Government has announced a multimillion investment in new critical manufacturing technology and research to provide certainty of supply of new vaccines and lifesaving treatments in Australia.
Acting Premier James Merlino said the Victorian Government will invest $50 million to establish mRNA vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing in Melbourne, in partnership with Victoria’s world-class universities, leading researchers, and Australian and international manufacturing companies.
The Government will work closely with the Commonwealth and experts from Monash University, the University of Melbourne, The Doherty Institute and other leading research institutes to develop the first mRNA manufacturing capability in the Southern Hemisphere.
Making the announcement, Mr Merlino said developing a mRNA manufacturing capability in Victoria would provide vaccine security and create ‘a more robust defence against future pandemics’.
“It’s vital that we can develop and manufacture mRNA vaccines and treatments locally to ensure we have vaccine security here in Australia and across our region,” he stated.
mRNA vaccines are seen as a promising alternative to traditional vaccines because of their high efficacy, capacity for rapid development, low-cost manufacture, and safe administration, as highlighted by the success of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna which are manufactured in Europe and the US.
Additionally, mRNA and other forms of RNA nanomedicines can be used in the treatment of cancer, rare diseases, cellular engineering and protein-replacement therapy.
Minister for Health Martin Foley said the investment would help accelerate RNA-based projects and develop new lifesaving treatments.
“There are major advantages to this technology including high efficacy, rapid speed in development, and flexible manufacturing processes,” Mr Foley said.
“Victoria is well positioned to be at the forefront of this effort.”