BioNTech chooses Melbourne for its Asia-Pacific mRNA R&D centre

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Victoria has further enhanced its position as Australia's leading jurisdiction for major life sciences investment with the state's government announcing a partnership with BioNTech to establish an mRNA research and innovation centre.

BioNTech has come to prominence during the pandemic as Pfizer's partner in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, COMIRNATY.

Under the new partnership, Victoria and the company will establish a research and innovation centre, with the aim of identifying and facilitating the development of potential mRNA candidates.

BioNTech's investment in Victoria will make it the company's Asia-Pacific mRNA clinical research and development centre.

The company will also commission an end-to-end clinical-scale manufacturing facility in Melbourne for mRNA-based medicines and product candidates.

It has developed a mobile modular manufacturing unit - BioNTainer - that requires limited space for operation. This allows for the timely and flexible local production of different candidates. The company said it expects to create hundreds of jobs during construction and operation in Melbourne.

BioNTech's investment in Victoria will further enhance the state's growing strength in mRNA. The state was chosen as the location for Moderna's mRNA manufacturing facility.

“Science and innovation can only make a difference if it is applied outside of the laboratories and reaches people worldwide. This partnership is a major step forward to enable access to mRNA technology and promote collaborations in the Asia-Pacific region,” said BioNTech co-founder and CEO, Professor Ugur Sahin. “Australia provides excellent academic research, and we are looking forward to collaborating with world-class scientists and researchers to strengthen Australia’s mRNA ecosystem and to jointly develop potential novel treatments and vaccines for people worldwide.”

“This is a major coup for Victoria – it will see incredible collaboration opportunities for our researchers and international biotech companies," said Victoria's treasurer Tim Pallas.