CSIRO's new state-of-the-art National Vaccine and Therapeutics Lab is open, and ready to produce vaccine and drug candidates into manufacturable products on a large scale.
After a successful pilot facility, brought about in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new $23.1 million multi-purpose facility will allow biomedical manufacturing researchers to work with industry partners, to safely scale-up vaccine candidates for clinical trials.
Importantly, the new lab aims to help Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in bridging the gap between benchtop lab research and commercial scale (known as the 'valley of death'), bringing local success to the industry and the chance to compete globally.
Opening the new lab marks a golden opportunity for local vaccine makers to take part in international trials, and potential candidates are encouraged to reach out.
Having received funding from both the Federal and Victorian Governments, the National Vaccine and Therapeutics Lab is the missing link in Australia's biomedical science sector, solving the issue of local companies producing vaccines offshore, which includes high costs and a waiting list.
Designed in accordance with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration's licensing, a variety of biologics, including recombinant proteins and peptides, and viral products will be produced, and the facility will be available to companies and researchers around Australia.
As a major boost to Australian translational research capacity and advanced manufacturing in biotechnology, the new facility has been destined to provide for future accreditation with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency, enabling local biotech companies access to the overseas market.
The facility has been created to develop antibodies, antibody conjugates (such as theranostics) and vaccines (protein subunit vaccines, viral vector vaccines, virus-like particles) as well as other biologics. To support the facility, CSIRO is also building a GMP QC laboratory, to support the analytics and stability trials required for biologic release.
Playing a significant role in Australia's biosafety network, the National Vaccine and Therapeutics Lab forms part of the broader National Biologics Facility (NBF), with branches at the University of Queensland, University of Technology Sydney and CSIRO, funded under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and administered by TIA.
The facility was opened on 11 August 2022 by Federal Minister for Industry and Science the Hon. Ed Husic, who was joined by CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall, and Manufacturing Director Dr Marcus Zipper .