Queensland and Sanofi to establish global vaccine hub

JOINT STATEMENT

Queensland will become a global mRNA vaccine hub with leading healthcare company Sanofi partnering with the Palaszczuk Government to establish a world-first research centre in Brisbane.

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

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

“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 expect it will create up to 200 jobs for Queenslanders and strengthen our biomanufacturing supply chain.

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

mRNA technology is expected to deliver a new generation of vaccines that instruct certain cells to produce proteins that are recognised by the immune system to mount a defence.

Minister for Science Meaghan Scanlon said Queensland is being recognised as a global research and innovation hub thanks to the government’s investment in state-of-the-art research facilities, talent attraction and partnerships between industry, academia and government.

“Queensland’s biomedical sector, including a highly skilled workforce and world-class research, has helped attract Sanofi to Brisbane,” Minister Scanlon said.

“This agreement will make Queensland science even more competitive by accelerating the commercialisation of local research by linking university partners with a global industry leader to test and develop new heath technologies.

“This announcement owes as much to years of great science and research done in Queensland by Queenslanders as it does to a sustained commitment from Government to grow the sector.

“And the effect of it will be amazing. Around 200 jobs will be created in Queensland within the research and clinical trials ecosystem, including scientists, researchers and healthcare professionals dedicated to improving mRNA technology for a range of diseases, including a first-ever vaccine for Chlamydia.

“The flow-on benefits for our biomedical sector, for researchers, and for young people thinking about how they can help save the world will be huge. It helps build more paths to prosperity for young Queenslanders looking to the future.”

“These types of announcements are exactly why we want to turn Queensland know how into Queensland jobs, Queensland products and Queensland services.

“It’s why we’re investing $17 million in the state budget provide significant support to foster partnerships between universities and industry, and accelerate the commercial application of major research being conducted in the state.”

“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 Lead ANZ, Karen Hood, said that Sanofi was thrilled to be basing the Translational Science Hub in Queensland.

“We acknowledge the incredible support and agility the Queensland Government has shown in seizing this exciting and unique opportunity. We are looking forward to our scientists in France and the United States working collaboratively with all partners to chase the miracles of science to improve people’s lives,” Ms Hood 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, Griffith University, 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.

Vice-Chancellor, University of Queensland, Professor Deborah Terry, said the partnership builds on a commitment to bring the latest technologies to UQ’s internationally recognised vaccine and drug development programs.

“The pivot to mRNA technologies was accelerated during the pandemic and UQ has invested in both the people and facilities to ensure mRNA for pre-clinical research can be developed and produced in Queensland,” Professor Terry said.

“Collaboration and partnership are at the heart of all great research and we look forward to making a difference to global health in collaboration with our partners.”

Currently Sanofi undertakes its world-leading work in Lyon, France and Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States.

The Translational Science Hub will be located across Queensland, utilising the laboratories and infrastructure of the University of Queensland, Griffith University and the Translational Research Institute (TRI). The research is expected to start in Q1 2023 with an initial focus on a Chlamydia vaccine.

Chlamydia is the most common STI in the world with around 129 million infections a year. While Chlamydia can be treated, there is currently no vaccine to prevent infection. If left untreated it can lead to infertility and in pregnant women can result in foetal eye and lung infections.

The biomedical industry in Queensland contributes around $2.1 billion in gross value-added product and employs more than 12,000 people across the state. The industry is supported by the Queensland Biomedical 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

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