Australia to develop onshore mRNA manufacturing

Joint media release with Minister for Health Greg Hunt

The Morrison Government is strengthening national capacity against future pandemics and other diseases by developing a pathway to Australia’s own sovereign manufacturing capability for mRNA vaccines.

Continuing our investments in high-tech medical manufacturing and future-proofing for our health needs, the Government today released an approach to market which will allow manufacturers to provide mRNA manufacturing capability in Australia to plan a partnership approach with the Government to bring forward this capability.

As part of the approach to market, the Government has set out the requirements that will be need to be addressed by applicants. These include:

  • the submission of fully costed proposals to establish an end-to-end onshore population scale mRNA capability;
  • demonstrated access to necessary intellectual property for manufacturing processes, technology transfer and production at scale;
  • capacity to make products available to the Australian Government as required and in priority over any other purchaser;
  • the ability to deliver secure supply of population scale mRNA vaccines, including to scale up production to respond to reasonably foreseeable health emergencies and issues;
  • the ability to deliver secure supply of other therapeutic mRNA based treatments of a type and scale that may be needed to respond to the reasonably foreseeable health needs of the Australian community;
  • the sustainability of the facility over 10 years and an undertaking to maintain the capability onshore on an ongoing basis;
  • a commitment to collaborate and build and maintain working relationships with the Australian research community; and
  • opportunities for exporting vaccinations and treatments, both commercially and support of our region during any future health emergencies.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, said that preliminary business casing undertaken by the Government demonstrates the desirability and potential of developing this capacity so that the nation has the ability to produce vaccines and therapeutics of this kind.

“We know that mRNA is an extremely promising branch of medical science and we know from work already undertaken that Australian businesses and researchers are developing mRNA capacity,” Minister Porter said.

“However our market analysis also shows there are gaps and challenges to scale-up, which mean it’s not currently possible to commercially manufacture mRNA treatments locally.

“Through this approach to market, the Morrison Government is establishing a partnership approach to making sure Australia has the opportunity to produce mRNA vaccines and other potential therapeutic products using this technology.

“The Government is inviting key commercial providers and potential providers to demonstrate their future capability and explain what government involvement, assistance or support could make that capacity a reality.

“To get the best deal for Australia, the Government is taking a two-pronged approach to establishing this sovereign capability. We are continuing negotiations with existing manufacturers while also approaching the market for others that can potentially provide viable solutions.

“This partnership approach will ultimately help us secure the best mRNA capability for Australians while delivering economic benefits, improving health outcomes for Australians and creating high paying jobs for the future.”

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said mRNA vaccines are at the cutting edge of advanced health care.

“mRNA vaccines are already a key pillar of the Government’s vaccine strategy, but mRNA technology has the potential to treat many other diseases including cancer, the flu, and cardiovascular disease,” Minister Hunt said.

“This approach to market builds on work already undertaken to understand Australia’s vaccine manufacturing capability, including a manufacturing audit undertaken last year and a business case.

“Both these will provide a strong evidence base on which to assess proposals as we work to build capability here at home.”

The Government is seeking proposals that will establish an end-to-end sustainable capability. The approach to market for proposals has been released today.

The process will be open for eight weeks. Details are available at industry.gov.au/mrna or click here.

mRNA vaccines have been identified as an opportunity in the Medical Products Road Map, which is guiding investments under the Government’s $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, part of the $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

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