Queensland Emory Vaccine Centre to be established at UQ

Tuesday, 11 June, 2024

Queensland Emory Vaccine Centre to be established at UQ

Queensland will soon be a major international hub for vaccine discovery and development, thanks to a $32 million partnership between The University of Queensland (UQ) and US-based Emory University, supported by the Queensland Government, to establish the Queensland Emory Vaccine Centre (QEVC).

To be based at UQ’s Brisbane campus, QEVC will bring together UQ and Emory researchers, along with industry partners including global pharmaceutical company Sanofi and homegrown biotech company Vaxxas, to accelerate the development of vaccines and their delivery to help address the world’s critical health challenges. UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the partnership will make Brisbane a significant player in the burgeoning global biomedical industry.

“QEVC will co-locate some of the best vaccine researchers in the world in a new cutting-edge laboratory at UQ that will fast-track the translation of vaccines into viable treatments to improve the lives of people around the world,” Terry said.

The centre will include laboratories, high-end computing infrastructure and infrastructure necessary for scaled protein expression and purification, with a focus on ensuring a robust pipeline of vaccines and therapeutics moving from discovery to commercialisation, according to Terry. It will also support spaces for a sterilisation and glass-wash facility, laboratory consumables storage and cold storage, as well as meeting and office rooms.

“Once operational, the QEVC will house more than 80 researchers and create over 20 direct jobs, provide new teaching and learning opportunities to boost Queensland’s skills pipeline and help to attract and retain talent,” Terry said, noting that other research institutions and the biotech sector will also be able to take advantage of the new facilities.

Dr Ravi Thadhani, Emory’s Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and Executive Director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, said QEVC builds on a decade-long relationship between Emory and UQ, bringing together the partners’ complementary skills and expertise in the search for new vaccines.

“Having Emory on the ground in Brisbane collaborating on specific programs of work is the next step in this important alliance and will maximise the research and translation benefits to the broader R&D community,” he said.

Queensland Minister for State Development and Infrastructure Grace Grace said this was a nationally significant opportunity to reduce the vaccine development timeline, through investment into novel approaches of vaccine development and technologies right here in Australia.

“With the support of the Miles government’s Industry Partnership Program, the Queensland Emory Vaccine Centre will provide an opportunity for The University of Queensland to collaborate with other Queensland research institutions in developing new vaccines,” Grace said.

“It will provide the infrastructure, access to technologies and skills to fast-track the identification of vaccine candidates, connecting Queensland’s vaccine development through Emory University into US opportunities.”

The project is anticipated to commence construction by the end of the year, with the facility expected to be complete and operational in 2025.

Image caption: UQ’s Professor Paul Young; Qld Minister for State Development and Infrastructure Grace Grace; and Professor Rafi Ahmed and Dr Ravi Thadhani from Emory University. Image credit: The University of Queensland.

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