Sydney welcomes $96 million RNA pilot manufacturing facility for NSW

The University of Sydney is pleased to be part of the NSW Government’s announcement of a first-of-its-kind Australian pilot facility to develop mRNA and RNA drugs and vaccines to combat disease and save lives.

The $96 million facility, to be established in partnership with all NSW universities, will include laboratories and pre-clinical trial spaces that will enable early-stage RNA-based drug development.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the State Government’s funding for the facility, aims to attract commercial investment in mRNA and RNA production here in Australia.

"The COVID pandemic has demonstrated to the world that it is critically important that we have the capability to develop vaccines quickly and for our country to have sovereign capability," Mr Perrottet said.

"The advent of mRNA vaccines and the crucial role they’ve played in getting NSW back on the road to a pandemic recovery is just the beginning of what this incredible emerging medical technology can do."

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Mark Scott said he is delighted the University of Sydney is a foundation partner on the facility which supports local mRNA and RNA drug and vaccine development.

"We are very pleased to contribute our world-leading expertise and infrastructure to the development and analysis of RNA-based medicines for COVID-19 and a range of other medical conditions," said Professor Scott.

"COVID-19 has highlighted the important work of our researchers, and how their vital partnerships with government and industry can accelerate real-world outcomes."

COVID-19 has highlighted the important work of our researchers, and how their vital partnerships with government and industry can accelerate real-world outcomes.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the facility was an investment in NSW’s position as a global force in medical research and therapeutics.

"NSW’s medical technology sector contributes $2 billion to the state’s economy," Mr Kean said.

"Supporting the development of high-growth emerging industries such as RNA therapeutics allows us to not only lead the way in the fight against disease, but to boost productivity through innovation and create high-skilled jobs for the future."

Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Gabrielle Upton, said the NSW Government’s Accelerating R&D in NSW Action Plan will lead future industries and jobs by building strong partnerships between our universities & industry.

"The NSW Government has already announced the formation of the NSW RNA Bioscience Alliance which brings together the best and brightest at our leading universities and research institutes to advance RNA research, development and manufacturing," Ms Upton said.

"This is a significant milestone in the creation of the RNA ecosystem and future R&D commercialisation, with our academics playing a major role in driving developments here in NSW for decades to come."

Convener of the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee Professor Barney Glover AO congratulated the NSW Government on the significant investment.

"The investment in the pilot facility is a significant signal that the NSW Government is considering deeper investment in R&D capabilities that will in turn empower the pilot facility to become more commercially viable and attractive to industry investment. Together, we are creating a strong, research-focused RNA ecosystem and research workforce for NSW," Professor Glover said.

"Universities look forward to working closely with government and industry, to utilise and translate our collective research strengths to achieve real impact for the communities we serve."

The pilot facility will commence subject to the approval of a final business case.

A leading group of NSW experts, including from the University of Sydney, have received funding from the NSW Government to pioneer Australia-first research to inform vaccine policy in the state and beyond.

The University of Sydney has received funding for 12 research projects, including a single-dose COVID vaccine, from the Medical Research Future Fund.

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