Friday, January 21, 2022

New COVID vaccine trials to begin in new year

Victorian scientists and manufacturers have created Australia’s first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate – Australia’s first ever mRNA drug product – announcing clinical trials will begin in the new year.

Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford said 450 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate have been produced in Boronia, enabling 150 people to take part in Phase 1 clinical trials run by the Doherty Institute, with results expected later in 2022.

“This is an Australian first that confirms Victoria as a leader in mRNA therapeutics and manufacturing – it is an incredible achievement to have made an mRNA vaccine candidate that is ready for clinical trials,” said Minister Pulford.

“We’re serious about developing our mRNA manufacturing capacity and doing it quickly as we can, because it will save lives.”

The Victorian Government invested $5 million to enable manufacture of the vaccine candidate, with dedicated equipment shipped to manufacturer IDT Australia from Canada. The machine processed nanoparticles into final liquid drug form, sterilised the product and filled vials with mRNA vaccine.

The project has been led by mRNA Victoria in partnership with Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), the Doherty Institute and IDT Australia – a landmark collaboration between Victoria’s renowned medical research and manufacturing sectors.

“This is a major milestone in Australia’s ability to manufacture home-grown COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and we are excited to commence Phase 1 clinical trials of this candidate, along with the protein vaccine candidate developed by the Doherty Institute, in the coming months,” said Doherty Institute Head of Vaccine and Immunisation Research Group Professor, Terry Nolan (pictured).

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