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  • Funding to scale-up mRNA vaccine production in SA

    Author: AAP

New technology will be used to develop and produce mRNA therapeutic drugs and vaccines in Adelaide, helping to address Australia's supply issues highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to $10 million from the SA and federal governments, the BioCina pharmaceutical production facility will become an mRNA centre of excellence, to support the scale-up and production of drugs and vaccines within two years.

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BioCina already produces plasmids, which are critical components of mRNA vaccines, and has a small-scale mRNA process development laboratory.

The extra cash will allow it to begin manufacturing of mRNA material to supply clinical trials, as well as scaling-up its facility to full commercial levels.

"Australia's sovereign vaccine supply problem was highlighted by COVID-19," Federal Health Minister Mark Butler said.

"This investment will ultimately build capacity to produce millions of doses of mRNA vaccines per week, adding resilience and capacity to Australia's sovereign vaccine agenda."

BioCina will work with researchers and biotech companies to develop the next generation of mRNA vaccines for diseases such as Malaria, Tuberculosis, Zika, Hepatitis B, HIV, Rabies, Influenza, Cystic Fibrosis and cancer.

That will allow it to tap into a growing market for mRNA therapeutics which is expected to grow from $46.7 billion in 2021 to $101.3 billion by 2026.

SA Health Minister Chris Picton said BioCina's mRNA facility in Adelaide would be the first in Australia to offer end-to-end client services to support the entire mRNA manufacturing and development process.

BioCina chief executive Mark Womack said the funding would increase the company's capacity to produce mRNA pharmaceuticals and bring missing clinical and commercial manufacturing capabilities.

"Projects such as this, highlight Australia's opportunity to leverage BioCina's strengths in development, manufacturing and innovation, to drive commercialisation and globally competitive local manufacturing," he said.

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