Publish Date: 
Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 11:45

Vaccine manufacturing facility to become a reality thanks to up to $60 million in Queensland Government funding 

A medical manufacturing facility – equipped to produce promising drugs and vaccines for clinical trials – will be built in Brisbane, thanks to up to $60 million in funding from the Queensland Government. 

The facility, known as Translational Manufacturing@TRI (TM@TRI) will be based next to the Translational Research Institute, the Princess Alexandra Hospital, and Thermo Fisher Scientific’s clinical and commercial manufacturing facility. The site is also adjacent to the Boggo Road Precinct, which is home to the Brisbane Ecosciences Building.

TM@TRI will support early-stage companies that are developing new therapies – including vaccines and medicines – by providing high-tech manufacturing suitable for clinical trials.

It will also give Queensland sovereign manufacturing capabilities to produce its own vaccines and medical treatments in the event of another pandemic.

Queensland’s Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Steven Miles, said TM@TRI would help keep MedTech start-up companies in Australia.

“At the moment, a lot of our small and medium-sized MedTech start-ups are forced to move offshore because they can’t manufacture their medical products at a large enough scale to support phase II and III clinical trials here in Australia,” Deputy Premier Miles said.

“This facility will provide the infrastructure they need to scale up to full production to support late-stage clinical trials, and will therefore help keep our innovative start-ups – and the high-value jobs they create – here in Queensland.

“It will also attract other MedTech start-ups to Brisbane from interstate and overseas.”

Announcing the funding at TRI, the Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick, said Queensland researchers had been behind some of Australia’s most important medical breakthroughs.

“Look no further than TRI’s own Professor Ian Frazer and the lives he has changed around the world with Gardasil®,” the Treasurer said.

“Our Government has recognised the importance of ensuring Queensland ideas and knowhow get turned into commercial products in Queensland.

“That’s why we backed Vaxxas, another TRI success story, to ensure their manufacturing facility will be here and not overseas.

“Building on Queensland’s strengths from early-stage research to our internationally recognised clinical trials capabilities, TM@TRI will support Queensland’s growing pipeline of start-ups.”

“We are providing an avenue for the pipeline of innovative biomedical products in development to be manufactured locally, retaining local companies and talent as well as attracting new companies looking to set up in the Asia-Pacific region.”

TRI’s CEO, Professor Scott Bell, said the State Government’s announcement would see the manufacturing facility become a reality.

“Last year the Queensland Government announced $20 million towards this facility, which put us within striking distance of building Queensland’s first agile and multifunctional scale-up manufacturing facility capable of producing a broad range for vaccines and medical products,” Professor Bell said.

“With today’s announcement, this facility is now fully funded. With this funding, the State Government is shoring up Queensland’s sovereign manufacturing capabilities, and, in particular, our ability to develop new vaccines and medical treatments locally.”

The Translational Research Institute is a collaboration between Metro South Health, The University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology, and Mater Research. It is also home to nine MedTech start-ups, including the companies Vaxxas and Microba.

“In many cases, Australian researchers have to license their discoveries to multinational pharmaceutical and biotech companies overseas because we don’t have the capabilities – and, crucially, the infrastructure – to develop their discoveries in this country,” Professor Bell said.

“That means Australia loses valuable intellectual property, which we often buy back later in the form of the final medical product.

“We have seen this happen with many of our discoveries over recent decades and a key learning from the COVID-19 pandemic has been the need, as a nation, to retain, develop and ultimately manufacture such discoveries in Australia.

“By supporting the construction of a new medical manufacturing facility, the State Government will help to retain valuable scientific discoveries locally, and importantly, give Queenslanders access to cutting-edge clinical trials. 

“This facility will also give a huge shot in the arm to our state’s MedTech sector, and reinforce Brisbane’s status as a hub for medical innovation.”

TRI will contribute $20 million to the construction of TM@TRI.