University of Adelaide: Broadening and scaling the reach of mRNA vaccines

The University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice-President (Research), Professor Anton Middelberg, commented: “BioCina has the only facility that currently has the registrations needed to make mRNA vaccines onshore in Australia. mRNA vaccines will impact a huge number of diseases in future, and the key will be speeding translation of discoveries from bench to market. It’s about more than just COVID.”

“Working with our industry partners, we aim to build a new expert capability to speed mRNA developments, and to make them more stable, accelerating progress to clinical trial, for future vaccines but also for other diseases including cancer.”

The CRC-P grant will strengthen linkages between commercial lead BioCina Pty Ltd and industry co-partner Cytiva.

“This grant will go a long way to ensuring that we are able to deliver on the promise of local capability and expertise supporting the research and commercial supply of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for the Australian and international markets,” said Ian Wisenberg, Chief Executive Officer, BioCina.

The $3 million grant is part of a total commitment of $11.9 million that will fund mRNA manufacturing and formulation service for late stage clinical trials. It will expand clinical and discovery research outputs with embedded, world-class experts from the University of Adelaide.


“BioCina has the only facility that currently has the registrations needed to make mRNA vaccines onshore in Australia… Working with our industry partners, we aim to build a new expert capability to speed mRNA developments”
Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice-President (Research), Professor Anton Middelberg
“Australia currently lacks domestic biomanufacturing of COVID-19 mRNA products and lipid nanoparticles under accredited pharmaceutical good manufacturing practice. Current constraints with the production of material is hampering later stage clinical trials,” said Professor Robert Falconer, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, University of Adelaide.

Professor Tim O’Meara is Strategic Manager, Government and Research for Cytiva.

“This CRC-P grant, enabling Adelaide company BioCina to manufacture mRNA, is a significant step towards Australia making a contribution to biomanufacturing of mRNA and securing some of the global investment in mRNA therapeutics and vaccines,” he said.

BioCina, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgewest Australia Holdings, acquired the former Pfizer biologics manufacturing plant at Thebarton, South Australia in 2021.

Cytiva is the trading name of Global Life Sciences Solutions Australia Pty Ltd, a global life sciences leader that works with academic and translational researchers, developers and manufacturers of biotherapeutics, cell and gene therapies, and new technologies such as mRNA, to enable the delivery of transformative medicines. Cytiva is a trusted expert with nearly 10,000 associates in 40 countries dedicated to customers’ speed, flexibility, capacity and efficiency in drug discovery, research, and manufacturing.

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