Publish Date: 
Sunday, June 6, 2021 - 14:45

Funding for the Translational Manufacturing Institute

The Queensland State Government has announced its funding support for the Translational Manufacturing Institute (TMI@TRI) at the Translational Research Institute.

This support includes up to $20 million in funding from the newly announced ‘Industry Partnership Program’, under the Palaszczuk Government’s new flagship $1.84 billion Queensland Jobs Fund.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the funding would accelerate development of one of the State’s most important health-research precincts and ramp up Australia’s capacity to develop our biomedical industry and manufacture vaccines.

“It will also support an estimated 500 jobs over 10 years," the Premier said

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the funding could allow Queensland to become a vaccine manufacturing location for the whole country.

“I want Queensland to lead the country in vaccine research, development, and manufacturing, and I’ve been talking to leading biomedical experts about how to do this. TMI@TRI was one of their strong recommendations," Mr Miles said.

Treasurer and Minister for Investment, Cameron Dick said that under the $1.84 billion fund, the government is working to supercharge the economic recovery.

“Queensland’s COVID19 economic recovery plan is unashamedly focused on growing Queensland jobs and our state’s manufacturing base. The Queensland Jobs Fund will help us unlock private sector investment to achieve this,” the Treasurer said.

“If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is that we need to manufacture more things in Queensland, by Queenslanders, for Queenslanders.

“This includes manufacturing more medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and vaccines right here in our backyard. We want to work with investors on high impact projects will create a new generation of jobs now and well into the future.”

The State Governments support follows TRI’s submission of a detailed business case for TMI@TRI, which included intensive engagement with industry, government, research and health to ensure the facility will deliver on the priorities of all sectors. 

TRI has also submitted a funding application in the ‘Translational’ stream of the Commonwealth Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative, the outcome of which will be announced in the coming months.

According to TRI CEO, Professor Scott Bell, with combined State and Commonwealth funding, TRI could deliver an operational manufacturing facility within 18 months. It would be Australia’s first scale-up facility.

“Australia is missing the ability to manufacture new products in the quantities required to undertake pivotal clinical trials to prove the safety and effectiveness of novel therapies,” says Professor Bell.

“Until now, this lack of specialised facilities and expertise has forced our innovators to go overseas, resulting in the loss of jobs in manufacturing and clinical trials, and reduced ownership of the IP.

“The establishment of the Translational Manufacturing Institute at TRI will support start-ups and translational researchers to advance their commercialisation and hopefully keep them in Brisbane.  It will also help realise economic and export opportunities for the broader community.

“The provision of fully operational Good Manufacturing Practice cleanrooms will also see up to 100 people gain hands-on training in cleanroom processes and advanced manufacturing annually, creating a highly skilled workforce for the medtech industry.”

A national survey by TRI of medtech and biotech start-ups in 2020, revealed the need for start-ups to have access to globally renowned researchers for ongoing collaboration as well as specialist equipment and expertise to continuously improve their innovations to meet regulatory and market requirements. 

Professor Ian Frazer AC FRS, co-inventor of the Gardasil vaccine for cervical cancer said because of Australia’s limited manufacturing capability for biological products in the 1970s, the cervical cancer vaccine was unable to be tested and manufactured locally.

“This meant that large-scale clinical trials were conducted overseas. This remains the case today,” he said.

“I’ve recently contributed to the development of two research products, a potential treatment for COVID-19 and an immunotherapy for head and neck cancer.

“These were manufactured overseas, because we lacked the capacity to produce them here.

“I would like to see Queensland help Australia to develop the capacity and capability to manufacture products like these here and TMI@TRI can help us achieve this.”

TRI is home to medical researchers from The University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology, Mater Research and Queensland Health, which together deliver exceptional research in both the laboratory and in the clinic.

TRI is also home to commercial tenants, including the university spinouts, Vaxxas and Microba, and there is a waiting list for emerging biotech, medtech and pharmaceutical companies who want to be situated in TRI’s unique, collaborative research community. 

Professor Bell says that together, TRI and its partners aspire for these discoveries to ultimately to lead to healthier lives for our community.

TRI sought Australian Government funding under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) for this expansion at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Precinct. The Queensland Government is prepared to support the project with up to $20 million, within the boundaries of the MMI funding guidelines, and is encouraging the Australian Government to support TMI@TRI. The TMI@TRI project aligns with the government’s Queensland Biomedical 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan to make Queensland a globally competitive Asia-Pacific biomedical hub by 2027.

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