Biomedical research supported with $270m for two new facilities

Biomedical research

NSW will be at the forefront of innovative health treatments under a $270 million investment in biomedical research, supporting the creation of two new facilities – the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator Complex in Camperdown and the Viral Vector manufacturing facility at Westmead.

The funding will transform the industry and help develop treatments for rare, life-limiting diseases. NSW premier Dominic Perrottet said this was a significant investment in a growing industry that will help deliver what matters to make daily life better for the people of NSW.

“The NSW government is committed to putting this state at the very forefront of innovative health care by continuing to invest in state-of-the-art health and research precincts,” Perrottet said.

“This investment in biomedical technology will attract world-leading researchers, scientists and clinicians to our medical precincts, and we hope deliver breakthroughs that create a brighter future for people everywhere.”

The $270.3 million investment, under the 2022-23 NSW Budget, includes:

  • $143.3 million for the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator Complex over four years, a state-of-the-art biomedical research complex co-located at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney;
  • $51.8 million over four years to accelerate NSW’s commercial scale viral vector products for both research and clinical trials purposes;
  • $49.6 million to build a commercially viable Viral Vector Manufacturing Facility (VVMF) which will manufacture viral vectors, essential components for most gene replacement therapies, and
  • $25.6 million for 2022-23 for innovative and lifesaving gene-based therapies such as CAR T-cell therapy.

Health minister, Brad Hazzard, said expanding to commercial scale viral vector manufacturing will ensure faster access to life-saving therapies.

“These advanced therapeutics are cutting-edge and are offering new hope for remission and long-term survival for patients with rare, and previously untreatable, conditions,” Hazzard said.

“It will also mean NSW patients have greater access to locally-based clinical trials and can receive highly innovative treatment options, to help ease the burden they face as they fight diseases which previously had very limited treatment options.”

Viral vectors are viruses that have their genetic material replaced by a genetic medicine. They are increasingly being used in the development of COVID-19 vaccines but are also vital in providing life-saving gene replacement therapies to patients such as CAR T-cell therapy.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the investment will grow production capacity to support the demand for viral vectors in clinical trials.

“These investments will enhance NSW’s advanced bio-manufacturing presence and will help cultivate a dynamic ecosystem of innovation, education and research now and into the future,” Kean said.

Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology, Alister Henskens, said this new investment is in addition to the $119.1 million being invested over 10 years into RNA research and development initiatives in the 2022-23 Budget, as well as the $95.8 million RNA Pilot Manufacturing Facility announced in October 2021.

“The gene therapy and cell therapy sectors are experiencing huge growth and this further investment in the industry will not only boost jobs for NSW but provide access to groundbreaking therapies and treatments as well,” Henskens said.

The NSW government has invested $25.6 million into medical and scientific innovation to help fight diseases in the 2022-23 NSW Budget.

The funding will support access to:

  • CAR T-cell therapy, which modifies a person’s own immune cells to attack their cancer. The therapy offers hope for remission and long-term survival for people with blood cancers;
  • Gene therapy for people with the genetic blinding eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. This potentially sight-saving therapy is the first gene therapy to be publicly funded in Australia; and
  • Monoclonal antibody therapy for neuroblastoma. This therapy improves long-term outcomes for children with this type of cancer.

This Viral Vector Manufacturing Facility project located at the Westmead Health and Innovation Precinct is a collaboration between NSW Treasury, Investment NSW and various NSW Health entities including Health Infrastructure, Office of Health and Medical Research, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and with support from Children’s Medical Research Institute and Western Sydney Local Health District.