Synthetic biology company, Ginkgo Bioworks, will establish an office in Melbourne to bolster Victoria’s focus in mRNA research and manufacturing.
A partnership with the Victorian government has enabled the move, in what is hoped to be the first step in future long-term business expansion within Australia.
“This will provide access for local companies to access their cutting-edge technologies for the development of mRNA vaccines and other significant benefits to biosecurity and related industries,” Victorian minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford said.
Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo Bioworks has developed a cell engineering platform that can deliver breakthroughs to a wide range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals,and food and agriculture. They are keen to tap into Victoria’s rich ecosystem of biomedical and manufacturing innovation.
“Melbourne is one of the leading biomedical research communities in the world,” Ginkgo Bioworks chief commercial officer Matt McKnight said.
“We have to forge international collaborations like this because, as we have all learned, biology doesn’t respect borders. We are incredibly excited to work with mRNA Victoria and hope to expand into the Australian market.”
Ginkgo Bioworks’ cell programming capabilities have supported innovations in diagnostics and vaccine design and manufacturing, as well as ongoing research and development of products such as living medicines, therapeutic proteins and gene and cell therapies.
The company partnered with Moderna and Aldevron in a key role that supported global biosecurity efforts in the COVID-19 response, applying their cell engineering expertise to optimise raw material production for the mRNA vaccine.
Ginkgo Bioworks also established one of the largest nationwide COVID testing platforms in the US and an Airport Biosurveillance Program, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The high-growth company has identified Victoria as a strong base for their research, presenting great potential for local R&D collaborations and improving the productivity of local industry via access to new technologies.
“We value the Victorian government’s deep commitment to the mRNA ecosystem and related emerging technologies,” McKnight said.
“With this support, Australia presents Ginkgo with a unique opportunity to bring our biosecurity and vaccine expertise to bear as we seek to detect, intercept and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemic events.”
Through mRNA Victoria, the state government will continue to attract global biotech innovators to invest in Victoria.