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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Queensland solidifies its position as an international hub for vaccine development

Health Industry Hub | June 3, 2024 |

Pharma News: A significant milestone in global vaccine research and development (R&D) has been achieved with the establishment of the Queensland Emory Vaccine Centre (QEVC), a $32 million partnership between The University of Queensland (UQ) and US-based Emory University.

Supported by the Queensland Government, this collaboration positions Queensland as a major international hub for vaccine discovery and development, including plans to house more than 80 researchers and create over 20 direct jobs.

Bringing together the expertise of researchers from both UQ and Emory University, along with industry partners such as Sanofi and homegrown biotech company Vaxxas, QEVC aims to accelerate the development of vaccines to address critical health challenges worldwide.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry AC highlighted the significance of this partnership, stating that it will elevate Brisbane’s status in the global biomedical industry.

“QEVC will co-locate some of the best vaccine researchers in the world in a new cutting-edge laboratory at UQ, facilitating the rapid translation of vaccines into viable treatments to improve global health,” Professor Terry remarked.

Moreover, this initiative is not confined to the QEVC alone. Other research institutions and the biotech sector will have the opportunity to leverage the new facilities and collaborate within the broader vaccine research and development community established by the Emory and UQ partnership. The primary objective is to ensure a steady flow of vaccines and therapeutics from discovery to commercialisation, ultimately ensuring their accessibility to communities in need.

Dr Ravi Thadhani, Emory University Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, emphasised the collaborative nature of QEVC, which builds upon a decade-long relationship between Emory and UQ.

“The QEVC combines the strengths of the Emory Vaccine Centre with exceptional partners at UQ and across Queensland to address global vaccine needs and innovate platforms to counter pandemic threats,” Dr Thadhani stated.

The Queensland Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Grace Grace MP, hailed this partnership as a nationally significant opportunity to streamline vaccine development timelines and invest in novel approaches and technologies within Queensland.

“It will provide the infrastructure, access to technologies and skills to fast track the identification of vaccine candidates, connecting Queensland’s vaccine development through Emory University into US opportunities,” Minister Grace said. “The Centre aligns with the Queensland Biomedical 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan and will see The University of Queensland creating over 20 new highly skilled and high value job opportunities.”

This collaboration marks an extension of a longstanding partnership between Emory University and UQ in drug discovery, exemplified by initiatives such as the Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative (QEDDI) and the Queensland Emory Development (QED) Alliance, in conjunction with QIMR Berghofer.

The QEVC solidifies Queensland’s position in vaccines R&D following an earlier agreement between Sanofi, Queensland Government, UQ and Griffith University for the establishment of a Brisbane-based $280 million Translational Science Hub.

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