Breaking ground: Moderna’s big build begins
In an important milestone for securing access to mRNA vaccines and enhancing medical research and development in Australia, global biotech Moderna has commenced construction of its new manufacturing facility at Monash University’s Clayton campus in Melbourne’s south east.
Construction work comes less than four months after Monash was selected as the site for the new facility that was first announced in March as part of a 10-year strategic partnership between Moderna and the Federal and Victorian governments.
It will be Moderna’s first manufacturing site to be built in the Southern Hemisphere and the first to be built on a university campus. The facility is expected to open in 2024, subject to regulatory approvals, and will produce up to 100 million vaccine doses each year, including vaccines for COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Located within the Monash Technology Precinct, at the corner of Blackburn and Wellington roads, the facility will join a host of world-leading research and technology facilities already established in the precinct, including CSIRO, Australian Synchrotron, Victorian Heart Hospital, and Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication.
Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said Moderna’s facility will further strengthen the Precinct, which is already established as one of Australia’s strongest ecosystems of globally-connected innovators and enterprises across technology, manufacturing, health, sustainable development and education.
“The Monash Technology Precinct brings together some of Australia’s most significant and unique research and technology centres, platforms and facilities to attract innovative and world-leading research and investment in future-focused disciplines,” said Professor Gardner.
The facility will be complemented by the Monash Centre for Advanced mRNA Medicine Manufacturing and Workforce training, which Monash is establishing in partnership with the Victorian Government.
“Together, Moderna’s production facility and the new Centre combine two critical elements of an mRNA innovation ecosystem that will deliver long-term health and economic benefits for the community, and strengthen Monash’s position at the forefront of mRNA/RNA therapeutic,” Professor Gardner said.
Monash is at the cutting-edge of mRNA/RNA therapeutics development, including the development of an mRNA vaccine candidate, which is now undergoing Phase 1 clinical trials with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
In 2020, the Federal Government provided just over $1.5 million through its Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to Monash and the Doherty Institute to begin the clinical trial process.
In June 2021, the Victorian Government granted Monash University $5 million through mRNA Victoria to manufacture the vaccine.