The Victorian government is backing Australia’s first locally manufactured mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, with clinical trials expected to begin in October.
Over the weekend acting premier James Merlino announced a $5 million investment to support the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), which will manufacture the vaccine in Melbourne.
“Making COVID vaccines in Victoria will create jobs and save lives — and it’s exciting these trials will be getting underway soon,” he said.
Roughly 150 people will be involved in Phase 1 of the clinical trials. Preliminary results are expected to be available in the first half of 2022.
Merlino said the development of mRNA capability has the capacity for broad-based application in HIV, cancer and other treatments.
The MIPS candidate is Australia’s leading mRNA vaccine candidate, and has previously received $3 million from the commonwealth’s Medical Research Future Fund.
The latest investment is the first to be made from the Victorian government’s $50 million fund to develop the state’s mRNA manufacturing capability.
The funding has been endorsed by mRNA Victoria’s newly-appointed Scientific Advisory Group, and has been welcomed by Monash University professor of pharmaceutical biology Colin Pouton.
“The investment by the Victorian government into establishing Victoria’s mRNA manufacturing capability presents exciting opportunities to develop life-saving vaccines and therapeutic treatments for all Australians,” he 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.”
Pouton and his team produced the first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in Australia last year.