Victoria produces Australia’s first mRNA Covid vaccine candidate

The Victorian government says researchers in the state have produced Australia’s first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Innovation minister Jaala Pulford announced 450 doses of the candidate have been produced in Boronia. This will enable 150 people to take part in Phase 1 clinical trials run by the Doherty Institute. Results are expected in 2022.

The minister said the state government invested $5 million to enable the manufacture of the vaccine candidate with equipment shipped to IDT Australia from Canada. The machine processed nanoparticles into the final liquid drug form, sterilised the product and filled vials with mRNA vaccine.

The project has been led by mRNA Victoria in partnership with Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), the Doherty Institute and IDT Australia.

“This is an Australian first that confirms Victoria as a leader in mRNA therapeutics and manufacturing – it is an incredible achievement to have made an mRNA vaccine candidate that is ready for clinical trials,” said the minister.

“We’re serious about developing our mRNA manufacturing capacity and doing it quickly as we can, because it will save lives.”

“This is a major milestone in Australia’s ability to manufacture home-grown COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and we are excited to commence Phase 1 clinical trials of this candidate, along with the protein vaccine candidate developed by the Doherty Institute, in the coming months,” said the head of the Doherty Institute’s vaccine and immunisation research group, Professor Terry Nolan.

Monash University’s Professor of Pharmaceutical Biology Colin Pouton continued, “We have worked with determination and in close collaboration with IDT to develop the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate – reaching this milestone demonstrates that the skills and experience to make mRNA products are available in Victoria.”

“We’re honoured to be a part of this collaboration. We believe this product will be the first locally developed mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate and the first locally manufactured cGMP mRNA drug product,” added IDT CEO Dr David Sparling.

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