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News & Trends - Biotechnology

Government seeks partners for biotech facility to address demand in cell and gene therapies

Health Industry Hub | February 3, 2022 |
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Biotech News: In leveraging its cell and gene therapy expertise to establish Australia’s first commercial-scale viral vector manufacturing facility, NSW is seeking industry expertise and capital to co-invest in the Westmead-based facility. 

The current pilot viral vector manufacturing facility located at the Westmead Health and Innovation District will expand from 25 litre to 550 litres, helping to address the growing demand for viral vectors.

Premier Dominic Perrottet, Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Minister for Jobs, Investment, and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the NSW Government is now seeking partners to co-invest.

“New South Wales has led the nation investing over $120 million to expand its advanced biomanufacturing footprint, including $25 million to develop our viral vector capability,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Upscaling the 25 litre viral vector pilot facility at Westmead Health and Innovation District to 550 litres, will help address the global demand in gene and cell therapies.

“Most importantly, expanding the capacity of the facility will ensure Australians have faster access to next-generation medical treatments that will save and improve lives.”

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Viral vectors are a key component of many gene therapies and have been in use since the 1970s. They are increasingly being used in therapeutic and preventative health interventions, including vaccines. 

NSW is a globally recognised leader in developing and delivering gene and cell therapies and upscaling the viral vector manufacturing will keep NSW at the forefront of this industry.

Mr Hazzard said the NSW Government will be seeking interest from companies with commercial and biotechnology expertise to co-invest in the Westmead-based facility.

“With gene therapies and COVID-19 vaccines straining global manufacturing capacity in recent years, viral vector manufacturing services are in high demand worldwide,” Mr Hazzard said.

“In Australia alone, we have two million people living with a genetic disease. Local production will ensure we can run more research trials and increase treatment options.”

Mr Ayres said the facility will manufacture high-quality clinical grade viral vectors and will serve the Australian, broader Asia-Pacific and global markets.

“The gene therapy and cell therapy sectors are experiencing phenomenal growth and upscaling our viral vector manufacturing will keep NSW at the forefront of this industry,” Mr Ayres said.

“Westmead Health and Innovation District is a recognised hub for innovative research and this facility will boost jobs for NSW and provide access to new groundbreaking therapies and treatments.”

Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said the NSW Government was committed to fostering world-class medical research.

“NSW is leading the nation in this space and we want to harness our cutting-edge research and development and continue to create an innovative, diversified and globally competitive economy,” Mr Henskens said.

The expanded viral vector manufacturing facility will provide ground-breaking trial therapies for infections, cancer, and genetic diseases. 

In Australia, there are over two million people living with a genetic disease. Local production will increase research trials and increase treatment options for patients across the country.

Health Infrastructure is working with Investment NSW to expand capacity, infrastructure and attract investment partners to the world leading facility.

Expressions of Interest for co-investment have commenced. To register your interest contact HI-Commercial@health.nsw.gov.au or visit Viral Vector Manufacturing Facility project page


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