Monash to manufacture mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for Phase 1 trials

Tuesday, 22 June, 2021

Monash to manufacture mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for Phase 1 trials

Monash University has received $5 million from the Victorian Government to manufacture the first Australian batch of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for clinical trials, using a vaccine candidate developed by researchers from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS).

The investment is the first to be made from the Victorian Government’s landmark $50 million commitment, first announced in April, to establish mRNA vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing in Melbourne; a new entity, mRNA Victoria, has been created to deliver on this commitment. The funding will enable the MIPS team, led by Professor Colin Pouton, to work with a Melbourne-based manufacturing company to prepare their product for Phase 1 clinical trials, set to commence later in the year.

Last year, Prof Pouton and his colleagues produced the first known mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in Australia. Described as Australia’s leading mRNA vaccine candidate, it is expected to deliver next-generation vaccine support for ongoing COVID-19 protection and future pandemics, as well as research capabilities for new drug and medical research breakthroughs.

“In April we welcomed the state government’s significant investment into establishing Victoria’s mRNA manufacturing capability, which presents new and exciting opportunities to develop life-saving vaccines and therapeutic treatments for all Australians,” Prof Pouton said.

“This grant will enable us to produce our second-generation COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for Phase 1 clinical trials, which will be conducted through our partnership with the Doherty Institute.”

The mRNA vaccine first received funding in 2020 through a collaboration with the Doherty Institute, with the two Melbourne institutes receiving a Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant to commence the clinical trial process for their two vaccine candidates. Some 150 people will be involved in the clinical trials, which are due to begin in October; preliminary results are expected in the first half of 2022.

“Making COVID vaccines in Victoria will create jobs and save lives — and it’s exciting these trials will be getting underway soon,” said Victoria’s Acting Premier, James Merlino.

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