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NSW & Victoria compete to establish AU’s first mRNA manufacturing facility

by , | May 5, 2021

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.

Naomi Pearce

Naomi Pearce

Executive Lawyer, Patent Attorney & Trade Mark Attorney

Naomi is recognised as one of Australia’s leading patent lawyers in virtually every notable legal guide and directory.  Naomi is also Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Partner of the Year (SME Law) for 2021, and the Founding Principal of Pearce IP, which was recognised as the IP Team of the Year in the Australian Law Awards in December 2021.

Underpinning Naomi’s legal work is a deep understanding of the pharma/biopharma industries, resulting from 25 years’ experience including as VP of IP in-house at global pharma giants, Partner of a top-tier international law firm, and as the founding Principal of Pearce IP.

Emily Dwyer

Emily Dwyer

Graduate Lawyer, Trainee Trade Mark Attorney

Pearce IP’s law graduate Emily Dwyer offers legal and intellectual property services, with particular focus on patents and trade marks.

Emily co-authors Pearce IP’s blogs including the biopharma focussed blog BioBlast®, and Pearce IP’s regular pharma/biopharma industry news updates, and ensures that Pearce IP’s life sciences clients are kept abreast of important industry and legal developments.

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