Australia and Korea sign MoU on vaccine research


The state of Victoria and Korea have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on mRNA vaccine research. The partnership will boost the mRNA capabilities of both jurisdictions.

Developing the mRNA ecosystem

The MoU is between mRNA Victoria and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI). KHIDI drives Korea’s innovation plans for pharmaceuticals, medical devices and medical services.

The MoU will bring together Victoria’s biotech research expertise with Korea’s biomanufacturing specialisation. Victoria and Korea will exchange information and develop linkages between industry, research and government organisations. They will seek opportunities for:

  • joint early-stage RNA research
  • clinical trials
  • investment into the development and manufacture of new RNA-based therapies and vaccines.

The MoU also considers government-to-government collaboration on policies for fostering innovation and supporting local industry development. These include cooperating on capability-building initiatives in Victoria and Korea.

‘We hope the signing of this MoU will bring more collaborations in the RNA-based technology field between two organisations for securing new healthcare technologies,’ says Dr Young-ok Kim, Executive Director of the Korea Health Industry Development Institute. ‘[Together, we can] contribute to the development of the global RNA ecosystem and future pandemic response.’

Korea’s efforts are aligned with Victoria’s aim become an Asia-Pacific hub for developing mRNA and RNA technologies. Through mRNA Victoria, the Victorian Government is supporting:

  • pre and clinical medical research
  • commercialisation
  • clinical trials
  • supply chain development
  • clinical and commercial manufacturing.

Austrade support for the MoU

Austrade Korea initiated a dialogue between mRNA Victoria and KHIDI in early 2021. The agency believed the two countries’ partnership could add to the global vaccine supply.

The initiative led to the first Australia-Korea mRNA vaccine partnership roundtable in October 2021. Academia and industry from both countries showcased capabilities and explored areas of collaboration.

Austrade also supported the partnership by promoting Australian mRNA capability. This included engaging with key government bodies and stakeholders in Korea such as:

  • Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Korea Health Industry Development Institute
  • Korea Vaccine Consultative Committee.

Austrade also shared information on Victoria’s vaccine research capability and coordinated the MoU signing.

Austrade is partnering with AusBiotech and state governments to represent Australia at Bio Korea 2022 (11–13 May 2022) in Seoul. The team is seeking more collaboration opportunities in mRNA and other sectors such as digital health and advanced therapeutics.

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