Publish Date: 
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 10:00

New medtech manufacturing capability launches in Brisbane

The Hon Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology officially opened the Translational Research Institute’s (TRI) new state-of-the-art clinical cleanroom manufacturing and training facility, T3 Cleanrooms, and the inaugural MTPCareers Symposium on Wednesday 14 October 2020.

The new cleanroom facility will help significantly speed-up the translation of Australian medical innovations into clinical practice, and will be available to researchers, start-ups and companies to manufacture sterile products on a small scale.

Professor Scott Bell, CEO of the TRI says the T3 Cleanroom facility is the outcome of a successful partnership with Australian biotech, Vaxxas Pty Ltd, to secure funding from MTPConnect to build clinical manufacturing and training capacity. 

“Based in dedicated commercial space at TRI, Vaxxas worked with us to identify a critical gap in medtech manufacturing and skills for companies needing to scale-up production for clinical trials, which led TRI to develop the unique T3 Cleanrooms,” said Prof Bell.

Having access to this vital facility is enabling Vaxxas to progress its innovative vaccine technology from preclinical to clinical trials and is a great example of the translational pathway that exists at TRI to foster the commercialisation of Australian medical innovations.

“Importantly, while based at TRI, Vaxxas has secured millions in funding from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Merck and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support human clinical trials of its micro-patch technology to deliver vaccines worldwide.”

MTPConnect Managing Director & CEO, Dr Dan Grant says the Growth Centre’s funding is improving critical research infrastructure to global standards to help accelerate the translation of new medical innovations, while also boosting the workforce skills of Australia’s new generation of scientists.   

“Giving Australian researchers and start-up medtech and pharma companies access to high value infrastructure such as GMP cleanrooms and small-scale manufacturing facility is a game-changer, keeping successful start-ups like Vaxxas here in Australia rather than moving development overseas. The TRI cleanroom fills the gap from the lab to the clinic, enabling discovery, production, and clinical trials and treatment to be available in one place,” said Dr Grant.

“We know that Australia has a workforce skills shortage in cleanroom processes and advanced manufacturing, so setting up the clinical manufacturing training hub at the TRI is a targeted way to build our sovereign capabilities and develop more career opportunities for our best and brightest talent” he said.

A recent survey Australian medtech and biotech start-ups and SME’s found that these companies need ongoing collaboration with research; access to clinical trial facilities and patients; and access to cleanroom manufacturing facilities and skilled staff to scale up production for clinical trials. 

“It is TRI’s ability to provide these essential facilities and services that has resulted in current commercial space being oversubscribed and a waiting list of young biotech companies wanting to be based here,” said Prof Bell.

“We’re also actively looking at opportunities to replicate our clinical manufacturing facilities at a larger scale to cater for the successful innovations and growing scale-up requirements in the med tech area, which is a significant gap for these emerging companies looking to be based in Australia.”

The economic benefits mean that every $1 invested in this facility generates a return of $2.58. The clinical trials attract international venture capital and investment. Not investing in TRI2 would result in a loss of $1 billion in economic benefits.

TRI Pty Ltd is investing $20 million into the project and is requesting $19.5 million of support each from the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments.