News & Trends - Biotechnology

Moderna reaches agreement with government for local mRNA manufacturing facility

Health Industry Hub | December 14, 2021 |
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Biotech News: The Hon. Scott Morrison, MP Prime Minister of Australia announced an in-principle agreement with Moderna to build a state-of-the-art messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine manufacturing facility in Victoria by 2024, including access to Moderna’s mRNA development engine.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said mRNA technology would play an important and growing role in response to future health issues and securing a sovereign on-shore mRNA technology was critical.

“This investment will continue to secure Australia’s future economic prosperity while protecting lives by providing access to world-leading mRNA vaccines made on Australian soil,” the Prime Minister said.

The contemplated framework would build the foundation to support Australia with direct access to rapid pandemic response capabilities and to provide access to Moderna’s vaccines in development for respiratory viruses. Moderna and the Australian government are committed to finalise the agreement.

“I would like to thank the Australian and Victorian Governments for their collaboration and partnership,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “We are committed to global public health and while we are still responding to this pandemic, we also want to ensure we and society learn from it. As Moderna expands internationally, we are pleased to bring local mRNA manufacturing to Australia. We believe that this sustainable national business model will have global impact and implications.”

Medicines Australia welcomes the announcement. “This is a major milestone for all Australians as we continue to fight COVID-19. It is also an enormous health opportunity for our country and will mean Australia can develop new, innovative vaccines and potentially new therapeutics that can meet the future needs of Australian patients,” said Liz de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia.

Moderna expects to invest in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the production of mRNA vaccines with the collaboration of the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments. The collaboration aims to provide Australians with access to a domestically manufactured portfolio of mRNA vaccines against respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, seasonal influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and potential other vaccines, pending licensure. Moderna expects that up to 100 million vaccine doses could be produced in Australia each year. The facility is intended to also be activated on an urgent basis to support Australia with direct access to rapid pandemic response capabilities. The Company is in discussion with other governments about potential collaborations built on a similar model.

“We are excited to expand our presence and continue our long-term collaboration with the Australian and Victorian Governments,” said 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.”

Liz de Somer spoke about Australia’s extraordinary R&D capabilities and the flow-on effects the manufacturing facility will have in creating job opportunities, increasing R&D capabilities and timely access to medicines, therapeutics and vaccines for Australians.

“Domestic manufacturing can translate innovative research into real, long-term health and economic outcomes for Australians. The mRNA manufacturing facility will add to our high-quality medical research infrastructure and grow our skilled workforce of scientists and healthcare professionals,” she said.

Ahead of the announcement, Medicines Australia called for a national approach for mRNA manufacturing at the Senate inquiry into Australia’s manufacturing industry.

Medicines Australia is pleased to see the Federal Government working together with the States and Territories on such an important initiative which will benefit all Australians. The innovative biopharmaceutical industry looks forward to building on this in the coming years to increase Australia’s advanced manufacturing capabilities and boost the competitiveness of our life sciences ecosystem.

“In order to continue to grow our sovereign biopharmaceutical capacity and capability and to compete globally, we must improve the coordination, consistency and collaboration across Australia to drive greater social, health and economic benefits to ensure no Australian patient is left behind,” concluded Ms de Somer.

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