TRI to receive $20 million for new vaccine manufacturing facility

TRI

The Translational Research Institute (TRI), Queensland medical research facility, will receive $20 million from state government towards development of a new Translational Manufacturing Institute for the manufacture of vaccines. 

The project is the first to be announced under the Queensland government’s flagship $1.84 billion Queensland Jobs Fund. 

“The $1.84B Queensland Jobs Fund is the next evolution of Queensland’s approach to industry development and jobs creation,” premier and minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk said. 

“People and businesses are moving to Queensland in droves because they know it is one of the safest places in the world to live, work and raise a family. 

“My government will provide up to $20M to expand the existing TRI to include a new state-of-the-art Translational Manufacturing Institute called “TMI@TRI,” she said. 

“This will accelerate development of one of the State’s most important health-research precincts and ramp up Australia’s capacity to develop our biomedical industry and manufacture vaccines. It will also support an estimated 500 jobs over 10 years.” 

The project is also the first to be announced as part of the government’s new $350M Industry Partnership Program, within the Queensland Jobs Fund. 

Queensland could be a vaccine manufacturing location for the whole country, according to deputy premier Steven Miles. 

“The Queensland Jobs Fund is the government’s next step toward Queensland’s economic recovery,” Miles said. 

“What better project to kick it off than an investment in biomedical manufacturing that will create high-skilled jobs in Queensland and could lead to the development of life saving vaccines. 

“I want Queensland to lead the country in vaccine research, development and manufacturing and I’ve been talking to leading biomedical experts about how to do this. TMI@TRI was one of their strong recommendations,” he said. 

“We want to keep growing the state’s biomedical sector, which already employs more than 10,000 people across more than 1,200 companies. From the very start of the pandemic, Queenslanders have shown the world the capability of our biomedical research and development. 

“Scaling up manufacturing is the next frontier for us. Imagine Queensland becoming Australia’s leading vaccine manufacturing location, right here at Woolloongabba,” Miles said. 

Under the $1.84 billion fund, the government will work to supercharge the economic recovery, according to treasurer and minister for Investment, Cameron Dick. 

“Our strong health response to COVID-19 has enabled us to accelerate the recovery of our economy, which is now larger than what it was pre-pandemic,” Dick said. 

“We’re now ready to drive that next phase of economic growth. Queensland’s COVID19 economic recovery plan is unashamedly focused on growing Queensland jobs and our state’s manufacturing base. 

“The Queensland Jobs Fund will help us unlock private sector investment to achieve this. If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is that we need to manufacture more things in Queensland, by Queenslanders, for Queenslanders,” he said. 

“This includes manufacturing more medical equipment, personal protective equipment and vaccines right here in our backyard. We want to work with investors on high impact projects will create a new generation of jobs now and well into the future.” 

The Translational Manufacturing Institute will support the local retention of start-ups to advance the commercialisation of their products. It will help the industry realise economic and export opportunities, TRI CEO Scott Bell said. 

“The provision of fully operational Good Manufacturing Practice cleanrooms will also see up to 100 people gain hands-on training in cleanroom processes and advanced manufacturing annually, creating a highly skilled workforce for the medtech industry,” Bell said. 

Due to Australia’s limited manufacturing capability for biological products in the 1970s, the cervical cancer vaccine was unable to be tested and manufactured locally, Gardasil vaccine for cervical cancer co-inventor Professor Ian Frazer said. 

“This meant that large-scale clinical trials were conducted overseas. This remains the case today,” Frazer said. 

“I’ve recently contributed to the development of two research products, a potential treatment for COVID-19 and an immunotherapy for head and neck cancer. These were manufactured overseas, because we lacked the capacity to produce them here.  

“I would like to see Queensland help Australia to develop the capacity and capability to manufacture products like these here and TMI@TRI can help us achieve this,” he said. 

TRI has sought Federal government funding under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) for this expansion at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Precinct. 

The Queensland government is prepared to support TMI@TRI with up to $20M within the boundaries of the MMI funding guidelines and is encouraging the Federal government to support it. 

The TMI@TRI project aligns with the government’s Queensland Biomedical 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan to make Queensland a globally competitive Asia-Pacific biomedical hub by 2027. 

Find out more at www.qld.gov.au/qldjobsfund. 

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