The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


21 Apr 2021

Victoria to lead on new vaccine manufacturing

The Doherty Institute welcomes today’s announcement by the Victorian Government they will invest $50 million to establish mRNA vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing in Victoria.

The funding announced by Acting Premier James Merlino and Minister for Health Martin Foley will be invested in new critical manufacturing technology and research that will provide certainty of supply of new vaccines and lifesaving treatments in Australia.

mRNA vaccines are a promising alternative to traditional vaccines because of their high efficacy, capacity for rapid development, low-cost manufacture, and safe administration.

This has been highlighted by the success of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna.

Victoria is well-placed to lead in mRNA manufacturing and the production of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics, and the Doherty Institute will work closely with the Victorian Government along with world-leading experts from the University of Melbourne, Monash University and other leading research institutes to advance this capability.

University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute, commended the Victorian Government.

“mRNA technologies will change the future of infectious diseases by providing improved prevention and treatment for a range of diseases in addition to COVID-19, that claim millions of lives each year,” Professor Lewin said.  

“There are major advantages to this technology including high efficacy, rapid speed in development, and flexible manufacturing processes.”

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Duncan Maskell, said: “The mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 have opened the eyes of the world to the potential of this new technology to improve vaccine development and delivery. This initiative will facilitate a collaborative scientific effort involving universities, institutes and industry in Victoria and other States.

The mRNA platform has the potential to deliver major improvements in human health from tackling infectious disease through to cancer therapeutics. Australia is absolutely right to move quickly so we are at the forefront of this effort.”

Acting Premier James Merlino explained that the funding is a necessary investment that would safeguard Australia and provide vaccine security.

“It’s vital that we can develop and manufacture mRNA vaccines and treatments locally to safeguard ourselves against future pandemics and ensure we have access to vaccines in the future,” Mr Merlino said.

The partnership will have widespread benefits beyond pandemic preparedness, with mRNA and other forms of RNA nanomedicines increasingly used in treatment of cancer, rare diseases, cellular engineering and protein-replacement therapy.