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Australia strengthens local mRNA vaccines production

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mRNA vaccines

The country is on the path to creating its own sovereign manufacturing capability for mRNA vaccines, strengthening its ability to fight against future pandemics and other diseases. 

The Government recently released a market approach where manufacturers can partner with them to provide mRNA manufacturing capability in Australia. This is a continuation of the Government’s investments in high-tech medical manufacturing for the country’s health needs. 

The market approach has set out the requirements needed by applicants: 

  • the submission of fully costed proposals to establish an end-to-end onshore population-scale mRNA capability;  
  • demonstrated access to necessary intellectual property for manufacturing processes, technology transfer and production at scale;  
  • capacity to make products available to the Government as required and in priority over any other purchaser;  
  • the ability to deliver a secure supply of population-scale mRNA vaccines, including to scale up production to respond to reasonably foreseeable health emergencies and issues;  
  • the ability to deliver a secure supply of other therapeutic mRNA-based treatments of a type and scale that may be needed to respond to the reasonably foreseeable health needs of the community;  
  • the sustainability of the facility over 10 years and an undertaking to maintain the capability onshore on an ongoing basis;  
  • a commitment to collaborate and build and maintain working relationships with the research community; and  
  • opportunities for exporting vaccinations and treatments, both commercially and support of our region during any future health emergencies.  

“We know that mRNA is an extremely promising branch of medical science and we know from work already undertaken that Australian businesses and researchers are developing mRNA capacity,” Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said.  

“However our market analysis also shows there are gaps and challenges to scale-up, which mean it’s not currently possible to commercially manufacture mRNA treatments locally.” 

With the market approach, the Government is making sure that the country has the opportunity to produce mRNA vaccines and other potential therapeutic products. Key commercial and potential providers are invited to participate. 

“To get the best deal for Australia, the Government is taking a two-pronged approach to establishing this sovereign capability. We are continuing negotiations with existing manufacturers while also approaching the market for others that can potentially provide viable solutions,” Minister Porter said. 

“This partnership approach will ultimately help us secure the best mRNA capability for Australians while delivering economic benefits, improving health outcomes for Australians and creating high paying jobs for the future.”  

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the mRNA technology will not only be a key pillar in the Government’s vaccine strategy, but it will also open up the potential to treat many other diseases. 

“This approach to market builds on work already undertaken to understand Australia’s vaccine manufacturing capability, including a manufacturing audit undertaken last year and a business case,” Minister Hunt said 

“Both these will provide a strong evidence base on which to assess proposals as we work to build capability here at home.” 

The Government is seeking proposals that will establish an end-to-end sustainable capability. The process will be open for eight weeks.  

mRNA vaccines have been identified as an opportunity in the Medical Products Road Map. The Medical Products Road Map guides investments under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative, which is part of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy. 

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