Victoria will become the first place in the southern hemisphere to manufacture Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines after the state government penned an in-principle agreement with the Commonwealth Government and pharmaceutical giant Moderna.
The deal, announced today by Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, will see Moderna base its new manufacturing and finishing facilities in VIC.
The deal is a boon for the nation’s vaccine security, ensuring manufacturing can be contracted locally to avoid global supply chain issues and to create a more robust defence against future pandemics.
The manufacturing facility will be capable of producing up to 25 million vaccine doses per year from 2024, with the capacity to scale up to 100 million doses per year to combat future pandemics.
It is expected to create up to 500 jobs during construction and around 500 ongoing roles – driving the development of a local mRNA ecosystem that does not currently exist in Australia.
Moderna currently produces an mRNA vaccine that is provisionally approved in Australia by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and was recently recommended by the nation’s vaccine advisory group for use as a booster shot.
The first mRNA-based vaccines were rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic, and teach human cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response in our bodies.
As well as mRNA COVID vaccines, the new facility will be able to produce other therapeutics which can be used in the treatment of cancer, rare diseases, cellular engineering and protein-replacement therapy.
“This is a huge announcement not just for Victoria, but the whole country – being able to manufacture mRNA vaccines and treatments locally will lock in vaccine security both on our shores and across our region,” VIC Acting Premier James Merlino said.
Updated at 11.11am AEDT on 14 December 2021.
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