The Victorian government has confirmed it will invest $5 million to support Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) to manufacture doses of the mRNA vaccine for trials, due to start within months.
The novel mRNA-based vaccine will enable a Victorian manufacturer to develop critical manufacturing capability of mRNA vaccines for clinical trials, a level of expertise which is currently unavailable in Australia.
“Making COVID vaccines in Victoria will create jobs and save lives – and it’s exciting these trials will be getting underway soon,” Victorian acting premier James Merlino said.
The investment is the first to be made from the Victorian government’s landmark $50M fund to develop the state’s mRNA manufacturing capability.
“We’re serious about developing our mRNA manufacturing capacity and doing it quickly as we can, because it will save lives,” Victorian minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford said.
The collaboration between Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Doherty Institute reinforces the strong mRNA sector in Victoria.
The MIPS candidate is Australia’s leading mRNA vaccine candidate, delivering next-generation vaccine support for ongoing COVID protection and future pandemics. It will also research capabilities for new drug and medical research breakthroughs.
The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences vaccine has previously received $3M from the Medical Research Future Fund to cover the costs of the Phase 1 clinical trial.
The development of mRNA capability is revolutionising medical research globally and has the capacity for broad-based application in HIV, cancer and other treatments.
“The investment by the Victorian government into establishing Victoria’s mRNA manufacturing capability presents exciting opportunities to develop life-saving vaccines and therapeutic treatments for all Australians,” Monash University professor of Pharmaceutical Biology Colin Pouton said.
Around 150 people will be involved in the clinical trials that are due to begin in October, with preliminary results expected to be available in the first half of 2022.
“Our message to Victorians today is get vaccinated if you are eligible to do so – for the sake of yourself, your family, your friends and your community,” Victorian minister for Health Martin Foley said.
mRNA Victoria’s Scientific Advisory Group – led by Victoria’s lead scientist Dr Amanda Caples and including American luminary Dr Barney Graham and Victorian infectious disease experts such as Doherty Institute professor Sharon Lewin and Burnet Institute professor Brendan Crabb – endorsed the Monash investment.