NSW Govt commits $119 million to RNA R&D

Tuesday, 14 June, 2022

NSW Govt commits $119 million to RNA R&D

The NSW Government has said that it will accelerate the translation of local RNA research into new products, services and jobs through an historic $119 million investment over 10 years, announced as part of the 2022–23 State Budget.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the funding would support R&D initiatives to be undertaken, including the recently announced $96 million RNA pilot manufacturing facility, ensuring the establishment of a globally significant RNA R&D ecosystem in NSW.

“This funding provides strategic support to strengthen NSW’s sovereign capability in designing and manufacturing RNA therapeutics to combat everything from pandemics to cancer and genetic diseases,” Kean said.

“It will continue to build NSW’s globally competitive innovation ecosystem by attracting global investment and international businesses, and creating a stronger and more skilled workforce.”

Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said the NSW Government is working in partnership with the NSW RNA Bioscience Alliance, an unprecedented collaboration between all 14 NSW and ACT universities.

“We want to create a brighter future for the people of NSW and turbocharging R&D opportunities is an essential mechanism to achieve that goal,” Henskens said.

“The value of RNA technology has been proven throughout the pandemic through the use of mRNA vaccines, but we know that vaccines are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to RNA.

“By bringing together our world-leading universities and industry leaders, we can deliver innovative solutions to some of the most important and complex challenges facing the world.”

The investment has been welcomed by UNSW’s Professor Pall Thordarson, Head of the NSW RNA Bioscience Alliance, who said it is “crucial to our shared vision to advance NSW as a global leader in the RNA ecosystem” and will enable the NSW research community to “address a range of current health challenges and attract a number of national and international industry collaborators and jobs to the state”.

The Convener of the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (NSW VCC), Professor Barney Glover, has meanwhile congratulated the government for its foresight and ambition, which should help transform the state into a world-leading destination for research, development and local manufacturing capabilities.

“Investments such as these are critical to futureproofing the social and economic prosperity of NSW,” Glover said. “Universities look forward to working closely with government and industry, to utilise and translate our collective research strengths to achieve real impact for the communities we serve.

“This collaboration will bring together top scientists and researchers from the state’s leading universities, research institutes and hospitals to collaborate on RNA research and find therapeutic solutions to tackle other diseases and help protect the long-term health of our communities.

“This is a significant investment, and the collaboration between government and the university sector will be a driver for future innovation and lead to a major vaccine producer establishing a base in NSW.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/nobeastsofierce

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