Griffith joins $280 million partnership to deliver mRNA vaccine outcomes

Queensland will become a global mRNA vaccine hub with leading healthcare company Sanofi partnering with Griffith University and other leading research institutions to establish a world-first research centre in south east Queensland.

The $280 million Translational Science Hub will be established under an agreement between Sanofi, Griffith University, the University of Queensland and the Queensland Government.

Griffith University Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Lee Smith says mRNA technology is helping launch a new generation of vaccines that instruct certain cells to produce proteins that are recognised by the immune system to mount a defence.

“Over the past 24 months the world has seen the many benefits of the messenger technology platform (mRNA) through the development of the COVID-19 vaccines which have achieved remarkable results,”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland will be the only jurisdiction in Australia to have a centre of this kind.

(L-R) Griffith VC Professor Carolyn Evans, UQ VC Professor Deborah Terry AO, Jean-Francois Toussaint, Sanofi Global Head of Research & Development Vaccines, Premier, the Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk, Health Minister the Hon Dr Steven Miles, the Hon Meaghan Scanlon, Minister for Science

“Queensland has some of the best researchers in the world and the Translational Science Hub will give them the platform to develop life-saving vaccines,” she said.

“If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s the importance of local capability rather than relying on global markets.

“We want the world to know that Queensland is where business can come to do science and science can come to do business.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the new Hub would help drive the development of new vaccines and health care solutions across the world.

“The Translational Science Hub is a gamechanger that very few jurisdictions globally are capable of,” Mr Miles said.

“Queensland’s best scientists will work with their global peers in the US and France on ground-breaking mRNA technology and vaccine development.

“The Hub will bring more expertise, supply-chain capabilities, as well as clinical investigations to Queensland.

“We’re proud one of the world’s largest healthcare companies has chosen Queensland to help reshape 21st century medicine.”

“The Translational Science Hub in Queensland will work closely with the Sanofi mRNA Centre of Excellence in France and the US to accelerate a new era of vaccine innovation,” Global Head of Vaccine Research and Development, Sanofi, Dr. Jean-Francois Toussaint, said.

Sanofi Country Medical Lead ANZ, Dr. Iris Depaz, said Queensland was home to world-leading immunologists and vaccine researchers.

“Queensland has some of the best universities for science research and the Queensland Government has a clear vision for investing in the State as a location for knowledge-based high-tech industries. This is why the Translational Science Hub will be located across the Sunshine State,” Dr. Depaz said.

Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans, said Griffith is delighted to be part of the partnership building on the strengths and capabilities of the University’s existing biomedical leadership.

“Our researchers are internationally recognised at bringing disease-specific mRNA expertise to developing new vaccines and therapies while our Clinical Trial Unit is a leader in testing safety and efficacy. We look forward to the work we undertake here in Queensland making a difference to global health outcomes,” Professor Evans said.

Griffith Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans at the Sanofi partnership announcement gie

The Translational Science Hub will be located across Queensland, utilising the laboratories and infrastructure at Griffith University and work alongside researchers at Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, Menzies Health Institute Queensland and the Institute for Glycomics.

Representatives from the French pharmaceutical giant also toured facilities at Griffith Institute for Drug Development (GRIDD) at Nathan before heading to the Gold Coast campus and visiting Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics, Menzies Health Institute Queensland and the Gold Coast Clinical Trial Unit.

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