Victoria: mRNA Technology for Healthcare Innovation

The government in Victoria is heavily investing in the advancement of cutting-edge mRNA technology for vaccines and medical treatments, cultivating an innovation industry that both generates employment opportunities and offers transformative healthcare solutions to the people of Victoria.

The region’s Minister for Economic Growth has officially initiated the application process for Round 3 of the mRNA Victoria Research Acceleration Fund, which provides grants to eligible research teams and biotech startups.

These grants are designed to support research teams in the development of innovative RNA and mRNA-based therapeutics. Biotech startups can receive up to AU$500,000 to expedite the translation of research, while research teams engaged in early-stage investigations can access grants of up to AU$100,000.

Since its inception, the Labor Government’s mRNA Victoria initiative has sponsored 42 research projects, with a total investment exceeding AU$27 million. This funding has been instrumental in unlocking novel mRNA treatments and vaccines for conditions such as muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s disease, and challenging cancers.

mRNA technology represents the future of medical research and has gained significant recognition, with Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman being awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for their groundbreaking work in this field.

Victoria is at the forefront of mRNA technology development in Australia. The construction of a US-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology company’s mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Clayton is progressing, with plans to produce 100 million mRNA vaccine doses annually once operational.

Melbourne serves as the hub for the biotech firm’s activities in Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia, and Oceania, and it recently established the firm’s Regional Research Centre for Respiratory Medicines and Tropical Diseases, fostering collaboration with Australian medical researchers on innovative mRNA therapeutics.

Furthermore, the Labor Government has allocated AU$10 million to establish the Monash Centre for Advanced mRNA Medicines Manufacturing and Workforce Training, a dedicated facility that trains the future workforce of the Asia-Pacific region in mRNA therapeutic development and advanced manufacturing.

Victoria has a crucial role in Australia’s pharmaceutical exports, accounting for nearly 60% of the country’s pharmaceutical exports. This industry is the highest-value advanced manufacturing sector, supporting over 100,000 full-time jobs in biotechnology.

The Minister for Economic Growth in Victoria noted that in the realm of technology-driven innovation, mRNA stands as an exciting and burgeoning element, presenting immediate employment prospects and vast future potential. The effective collaboration between industry and researchers enables the harnessing of mRNA and advanced manufacturing capabilities, resulting in the development of pioneering vaccines and medications.

The region’s Minister for Medical Research stated that the committed and highly skilled medical researchers in Victoria are making noteworthy contributions to technological progress, which is leading to significant advancements in healthcare and the preservation of lives. There is a strong sense of pride in providing support for their essential initiatives.

OpenGov Asia reported earlier that The School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Adelaide will contribute to the development of cutting-edge technology aimed at creating tailored mRNA-based drugs and vaccines. This technology will be established and used in Adelaide, positioning the city as a leader in this field.

The University of Adelaide has partnered with a multi-product biologics contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) to advance ground-breaking technology in precision medicine manufacturing, as well as manufacturing processes. This partnership will enable the implementation of these technologies at the company’s Adelaide facility.