Aussie mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate moves to clinical trials

By Melissa Coade

August 23, 2021

Victorian Minister for Medical Research Jaala Pulford said local research and industry collaborations had made it possible for the first clinical trial
Victorian Minister for Medical Research Jaala Pulford said local research and industry collaborations had made it possible for the first clinical trial. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

The arrival of a NanoAssemblr machine — a nanoparticles processor used to produce mRNA vaccines — from Canada marks another step in Australia’s mRNA vaccine production capability. 

In a statement issued on Monday, Victorian Minister for Medical Research Jaala Pulford said local research and industry collaborations had made it possible for the first clinical trial of locally-developed mRNA coronavirus vaccine to kick off. 

“We’ve acted swiftly to establish mRNA Victoria and committed $50 million to grow mRNA capability here, and we’re already making great progress,” Pulford said. 

The $1 million piece of equipment will be sent to IDT Australia’s Boronia facility, where it will be used to commence Phase 1 clinical trials of Australia’s first locally-developed mRNA coronavirus vaccine. 

Professor Colin Pouton from Monash University said the trial would be conducted in partnership with the Doherty Institute.

“This machinery will allow us to work with IDT Australia to produce our second generation COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for Phase 1 clinical trials,” Pouton said. 

The trial run of 150 doses of the locally developed vaccine candidate will be overseen by the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) with $5 million from the Victorian government. According to the government, the MIPS vaccine candidate is the leading one nationally.

Clinical trials of the vaccine are set to commence in October and the preliminary results will be expected by mid 2022. 

Pulford added that the new capabilities would establish the state’s mRNA sector. 

“Victoria leads the nation in mRNA expertise with universities, research institutes and industry working together to accelerate local mRNA development and manufacturing,” she said. 

The sentiments were echoed by IDT Australia CEO Dr David Sparling, who described the partnership as an example of ‘Victoria’s vibrant mRNA ecosystem’. He added that it was exciting to see the state government was helping to translate mRNA clinical research to development of the vaccine on a smaller commercial scale.


READ MORE:

Trials of locally made mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to begin in October

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