A new $1 million NanoAssemblr machine has arrived in Victoria to enable the production of Australia’s first COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, which is due to begin in the coming months.
The NanoAssemblr machine was sent from Canada to Boronia-based company, IDT Australia. As the only machine of its kind in Australia, it can process nanoparticles into final liquid drug form, sterilise the product and fill vials with mRNA vaccines.
The equipment will manufacture more than 150 doses for Phase 1 clinical trials of Australia’s first locally developed mRNA coronavirus vaccine, under a trial run by the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS).
To make the trial possible, the Victorian state government has invested $5 million to support the MIPS candidate.
Minister for Medical Research, Jaala Pulford, said Victoria has the capabilities with universities, research institutes and industry to accelerate local mRNA manufacturing.
“We’ve acted swiftly to establish mRNA Victoria and committed $50 million to grow mRNA capability here, and we’re already making great progress,” she said.
IDT Australia’s new mRNA manufacturing capability will bring a level of expertise to Victoria currently unavailable elsewhere in the nation. The collaboration between MIPS, the Doherty Institute and IDT Australia has reinforced the strong mRNA sector, research strength and manufacturing capability.
“This machinery will allow us to work with IDT Australia to produce our second generation COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for Phase 1 clinical trials, which will be conducted through our partnership with the Doherty Institute,” Monash University Pharmaceutical Biology Professor Colin Pouton said.
The MIPS candidate will deliver next-generation vaccine support for ongoing COVID-19 protection, future pandemics and research capabilities for new drug and research breakthroughs.
“Victoria has a vibrant mRNA ecosystem and partnering with MIPS and the Doherty on translating mRNA clinical research to development of the vaccine on a smaller commercial scale is very exciting,” IDT Australia CEO Dr David Sparling said.
Clinical trials are due to start in October 2021, with preliminary results from the trials expected in the first half of 2022.