In light of the COVID-19 vaccine supply shortages in Australia, it was refreshing to hear NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announce yesterday that the NSW Government will establish government funded commercial mRNA virus development and manufacturing capabilities. While Australia has research expertise in RNA, vaccine development and genetic therapies, it does not currently possess commercial manufacturing facilities. The pilot program proposed by the Berejiklian Government is expected to take 12-24 months. As a result, this program is not expected to have a short-term impact on COVID-19 but is designed to ‘future proof’ the state for challenges beyond COVID-19.
This follows the announcement last month by acting Victorian Premier James Merlino who announced that the Victorian Government would provide $50 million to establish mRNA vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing capability in Melbourne. Merlino announced that the Victorian Government would work with the Commonwealth, Monash University, the University of Melbourne, The Doherty Institute and other research institutes to achieve this ambitious goal.
COVID-19 has reinforced the need for domestic manufacturing capability for medicines. Last week we suggested one of the key lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that countries like Australia simply cannot afford to import life saving medicines. The global pharma industry still faces serious challenges in meeting the demands of COVID-19 and potential future pandemics, and steps taken by the Federal and State Governments to support local manufacture are welcomed by industry. These announcements from the NSW and Victorian governments are promising signs that greater attention will be paid to ensuring domestic supply of vaccines and therapeutics.
CEO, Executive Lawyer, Patent & Trade Mark Attorney
Naomi is the founder of Pearce IP, and is one of Australia’s leading IP practitioners. Ranked in virtually every notable legal directory, highly regarded by peers and clients, with a background in molecular biology, Naomi is market leading in the field of pharma/biopharma, biotechnology and animal health.
Underpinning Naomi’s legal work is a deep understanding of pharma/biopharma industries, resulting from 25+ years' experience, including as VP of IP in-house at global pharma giants, and Partner of a top-tier international law firm and as the Founding Principal of Pearce IP.