US biotech company Moderna has reached an in-principle agreement to build an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Victoria. It will become the first mRNA manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere.
Moderna expects to produce up to 100 million vaccine doses each year in Australia.
First mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere
Moderna, the Australian Government and the Victorian Government reached an in-principle agreement to build the facility. It will boost Australia’s medical research and development, clinical trials and global supply chain access.
The facility is expected to start operating in 2024, pending regulatory and planning approval.
‘As Moderna expands internationally, we are pleased to bring local mRNA manufacturing to Australia,’ says Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.
‘We believe that this sustainable national business model will have global impact and implications.’
Priority access to mRNA vaccines
The in-principle agreement provides Australia with priority access to mRNA vaccines made here. This will ensure the country can respond quickly to future pandemics and other serious outbreaks.
Moderna will manufacture a range of mRNA vaccines against respiratory viruses, including:
- seasonal influenza
- respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
- other potential vaccines, pending licensure.
‘We are excited to expand our presence and continue our long-term collaboration with the Australian and Victorian Governments,’ says Michael Azrak, Moderna’s General Manager of Australia.
‘We look forward to completing the necessary discussions and starting work to develop onshore mRNA manufacturing capability here in Australia.’
Developing the Australian mRNA sector
The Australian Government will invest up to A$25 million from 2022–23 in the 2021 mRNA Clinical Trials Enabling Infrastructure Grant Opportunity.
This funding will support Australian medical research and medical innovation projects that use emerging technologies, platforms, equipment and infrastructure to conduct clinical trials of mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics.
Eligible organisations will receive a fixed grant amount of A$5 million over 3 years from 2022–23.
Applications for grants will open in March 2022.
The grant opportunity forms part of the Government’s Coronavirus Research Response. It is funded through the A$20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.